BUILD AN ARK / “You’ve Gotta Have Freedom” (J. Rocc Remix)

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4 Responses to “BUILD AN ARK / “You’ve Gotta Have Freedom” (J. Rocc Remix)”

Jim Sangrey Says:
September 23rd, 2007 at 5:53 am

Great site, great dialogue, just discovered your site, and wow,,,what took me so long? Anyways, just wanted to add that the original "Always There" is by Ronnie Laws, from 1975’s PRESSURE SENSITIVE. There was also a fine version done by Side Effect in 1976, the common denominator between the two being production by Wayne Henderson. But yeah, Joycelyn Brown, there’s a voice that close to everybody’s heard (and probably dug) without realizing who it was. The woman goes DEEP sometimes!

          kalamu sez         

Once again, I’m chagrined—this time I forgot the origins even as I was ragging on Mtume for not recognizing where the song came from. My bad. Thanks very much for correcting me.


Qawi Says:
September 24th, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Two Words…BAA ROCKS! Thanks for introducing me to BAA. Positive and uplifting project indeed. I respect the craft of DJ J. Rocc, but the question is he remixing BAA or Pharoah Sanders is one that will never be answered. He has mastered the art of looping, albeit the piano look seems monotonous at times.

The Magnificent Goldberg Says:
September 24th, 2007 at 4:03 pm


I like that BAA version of the song. I’ve had Pharoah’s version pretty well since it came out, so I’m fairly familiar with it. Funnily enough, I don’t think the BAA version – at least the rhythm – is too far from Pharoah’s.

That really is quite an extraordinary tune within the Sanders canon. It’s a hip, finger-popping, swing thing. Most of his melodies – and you’re right, Kalamu, about Pharoah’s ability to write blindingly beautiful melodies – DON’T swing like that, something that’s interested me about them for some time. Because Pharoah, like Albert Ayler, is a descendant in one sense, of the honking and screaming tenor players of the forties – Jacquet, Cobb, Gator Tail, Big Jay McNeely, Cornbread Singer and many others – who were a kind of bridge between where jazz was going after swing and where R&B was going after swing. (Ayler, I’m told, had his honking mediated by the gospel sax tradition, about which I know little. Trane had been a honker and bar walker in his day. As had Ornette, who worked in the same band as Fathead Newman and King Curtis.) I was listening earlier this evening to a CD of Roy Milton, after Nat Cole, the second most prolific west coast R&B hitmaker of the late forties/early fifties. And that rhythm of Pharoah’s in “Freedom” is very similar to some of Roy’s less overtly R&B numbers; “Coquette” or “When I grow to old to dream”, for example.

Those early R&B men and honking saxmen of that time were among the most uncompromisingly BLACK artists there have ever been. There was hardly any suggestion that any of that stuff might ever find a white audience, so the musicians were free to play what they wanted; what expressed the spirit of the ghetto of the times. And there were enlightened producers and entrepreneurs around who let – no, PAID FOR – them do it. And it’s always seemed natural to me that, when the sixties came around, musicians who were, like Pharoah, actively pursuing a specifically black agenda, and who had anyway grown up listening to the honkers and knew just what it meant, would develop a wild, wilder, wildest version of what had always been screamed.

The way Pharoah played the tune on “Journey to the one” may have been the “original” version, but it wasn’t the way he normally played it. In 1982, he recorded it live, with just a quartet, but John Hicks and Idris were in the band. And again, in Holland, in 1987, once more with Hicks and Idris. Both those versions feature a much more standard “avant” rhythm, much more frantic, following McCoy and Elvin to some extent. I’m convinced the rhythm in the original is almost solely the result of having to make room for the vocalists.

Now the BAA version seems to me, by also using a vocal chorus as Pharoah’s first version did, is trapped into the same kind of rhythm. It’s a damn fine band, though I think the tenor player is imitating Pharoah rather too well for me to be comfortable with him. Dwight Trible, whom I haven’t heard before, is a great vocalist, absolutely in the spirit of the song. His own version, which you’ve put on there is another great performance. Am I right in thinking this was a Japan-only issue?

Of the two remixes, only 2 Banks of 4 (never heard of him/her/it/them before) seems to me to have any clear idea of how to move things along and develop them in an interesting manner. And I adore the groove to that one. That is definitely something to move your body freely to. But Dwight puts everything to shame, I’m afraid. Oh, and the band! (Oh, and Dwight’s performance is the way Pharoah usually does the tune.)

I didn’t used to listen to stuff before I bought it. You’re changing the habits of a lifetime 🙂


AC Says:
September 25th, 2007 at 8:48 am

Breath of Life indeed!
I do look forward to your offerings every Sunday!

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