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Thursday, Jul 25 2013 | 21:32
Image: 1581990 The deep underground jazz scene that existed in Detroit in the 1970s has proved to be a rich mine - full of hidden gems, lost classic recordings, small collectively run record labels, and spiritually aware and conscious music and artistry.

The Detroit Jazz Composers Ltd's album was originally released locally in Detroit in 1976, the album has been digitally re-mastered here and made available on Universal Sound for the first time ever on CD - cased in deluxe bespoke original artwork exact reproduction hardboard Japanese-style box case CD limited to 1500 copies worldwide.

The similarly deluxe limited vinyl edition (1000 copies worldwide) comes as an expanded 2xLP (pressed at 45rpm) super-loud, super-heavy 180gm audiophile vinyl edition. The vinyl also comes with a free download code.

Alongside the Tribe Records musicians' collective of Phil Ranelin, Wendell Harrison and Marcus Belgrave, Detroit was also home to Kenny Cox and Charles Moore's Strata Records, who released music by Maulawi, Lyman Woodard and Kenny Cox. There were also many other tiny bespoke labels releasing radical and progressive music from the city's underground scene. The Detroit Jazz Composers Ltd's Hastings Street Jazz Experience is one such classic lost deep spiritual jazz album.

Detroit jazz musical artistry and identity in the 1970s found a path that connected Chicago's Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, New York's Strata-East, St Louis's Black Artists Group and Los Angeles' Pan-Afrikan People's Arkestra.

Perhaps more significantly Detroit jazz music connected to the city's own musical bag, be it the soul of Motown or the proto-punk of the MC5 or The Stooges – Strata Records' Charles Moore played with MC5 and White Panther/MC5 manager John Sinclair was a key figure in the Detroit Artists Workshop for jazz musicians in the 1960s.

The Detroit Jazz Composers Ltd. is a one-off collective coming together of many of Detroit's superb jazz musicians together with one of Motown's finest soul singers, Kim Weston, alongside a full orchestra and choir - and is one of the most spiritually uplifting set of recordings you will ever hear.

Here in Detroit, creative musicianship, collective consciousness and African-American economic empowerment went hand in hand and The Detroit Jazz Composers Ltd.'s 'Hastings St. Jazz Experience' was the only release on the bespoke Midnite Records, set up especially for this project.

For many years Hastings Street was the main commercial hub of Black Bottom, a thriving black neighbourhood in the city, full of black-owned businesses, nightclubs and community spaces. In the early 1960s the City of Detroit demolished the district as part of an urban renewal project, replacing it with the Chrysler Freeway and the new district of Lafayette Park in an effort to counter the flight of middle and upper-income families to the suburbs.

In many ways the city's creative surge in the 1970s was a consequence of a cultural and economic void in the city that musicians, artists and entrepreneurs fought hard against in a collective determination to survive and thrive in a manner that it would be hard to find existing to such a level in any other city in the United States.

After the departure of the mighty Motown Records in 1972 to Los Angeles and the decimation and automation of Detroit's powerhouse motor industry, one could literally say the soul and economic engine of the motor city had departed leaving an industrial and economic landscape akin to a bombsite or after an earthquake.

The Hastings St Jazz Experience was the collective idea of Ed Nelson, Dedrick Glover and Charles Miller, a huge project involving over 50 musicians, a creative response to a decaying city harnessing the vitality and history of the black experience.


1. Mark 1
2. Ja-Mil
3. Song For M
4. A Little Love For You/Love Sounds
5. Yes Lord
6. Arjuna
7. Nobody Had To Tell Me
8. Now You're Gone Available from 05.07.2013
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