American composer and drummer Pheeroan AkLaff's celebrated ‘House of Spirit:Mirth’ features in our recent revolutionary jazz records book (compiled by Gilles Peterson and Stuart Baker).
This album was originally released in 1979 on the composer Oliver Lake's bespoke private-press label Passin Thru' Inc., a not for profit label 'dedicated to fostering, promoting and advancing the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of the arts'. Consequently 'House of Spirit' remains one of the most elusive deep jazz releases of its time to collectors.
Aklaff was an original of the Detroit jazz scene of the early 70s alongside musicians of the Tribe (Wendell Harrison, Phil Ranelin, Doug Hammond) and Strata collective (Kenny Cox and Charles Moore) and local luminaries such as Travis Biggs before moving to New York in the mid-1970s to work at the centre of the vibrant Loft/radical jazz scene. Here he worked and recorded with original greats such as Oliver Lake, Wadada Leo Smith, Anthony Davis (with numerous releases on India Navigation and other radical NY avant-jazz labels). At this time Coltrane drummer Rashied Ali became mentor to AkLaff, with Aklaff practically living at Ali's legendary club/live space 'Ali's Alley'.
In the 1980s Aklaff continued his solo career with releases such as 'Fits Like A Glove' (1985), and 'Sonogram' (1989) featuring the cream of the New York 80s avant-garde players (Sonny Sharrock, Geri Allen etc) as well his continued work alongside artists of the calibre of Don Byron, Anne Claudine Myers, Julius Hemphill, Henry Threadgill and Oliver Lake.
‘House of Spirit: Mirth’ is one of the most radical of deep jazz releases of its time. Avant-garde beyond a doubt but with an Afro-centric rhythmical intensity hard to find in the myriad of independent free/loft jazz recorded in New York at the time.
Influenced by Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra, Duke Ellington and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, AkLaff also studied African drumming travelling to and working in the Ivory Coast, Togo, Swaziland, Malawi, Liberia as well as Nigeria, where he performed with Fela Kuti.
Pheeroan AkLaff currently performs as a solo artist in New York and as part of the Cecil Taylor group. In 2006 he also co-founded Seed Artists Inc. for Artists and Communities, a non-profit organisation promoting inter-generational activities, concerts and music lessons, based in Brooklyn.
This bespoke perfect replica reissue comes in a limited edition hardback box-case CD edition and a very limited heavyweight vinyl and gatefold sleeve edition of 1000 copies worldwide.