“Egyptologists” and most “historians” have for many years purposely hidden, stolen, laid claim to, and falsified the clear evidence that thousands of years ago the Nubian and Kemetic people and cultural systems populated every land mass on earth, and built monuments that stand to this day even as other cultures and people lay claim to their origin.
This Suite is dedicated to the ancient African Pyramid builders, who’s magnificent monuments have defied time to reveal the truth of the origins of people, science, mathematics, art, engineering, navigation, music, religion, and subsequent cultures.
My name is Mtafuta Ukweli and I seek truth. – Russell Gunn
These are excerpts from the liner notes of the new project from The Royal Krunk Jazz Orkestra, immediately signaling that Russell Gunn has arrived at a profound sense of history and purpose with the creation of this recording, titled Pyramids. While the signature sound of this ensemble is clearly similar to the 2018 release Get It How You Live, the scope and power of the project is evident from the epic lift in the first track. It is clear we are in the process of a grand story in orchestral style, with all musical parts of the African Diaspora retelling the story of the (African) Egyptian Kings in proper glory.
Russell describes Pyramids as the second in a trilogy that began with 2016’s The Sirius Mystery. The Orkestra has clearly benefitted from persistent collaboration in a live setting, and the message is tailored and refined. At 33 minutes in length (though it feels much longer), Pyramids captures the listener’s attention and holds it straight through, feeling like one extended cinematic piece. Dionne Farris shines with soaring vocals, while Terreon Gully and Lil John Roberts drum on separate channels. It is clear the vision is extraordinary, and the attention to orchestral detail is at a high point.
released August 30, 2019
Russell Gunn – Composer, Arranger, Conductor
Eric Fontaine – Baritone Saxophone
Fareed Mahluli – Tenor Saxophone
Mike Walton – Tenor Saxophone
Akeem Marable – Alto Saxophone
Marquinn Mason – Alto Saxophone
Lee King - Lead Trumpet
Dashill Smith – Trumpet
Terence Harper – Trumpet
Melvin Jones – Solo Trumpet
Derrick Jackson – Trombone
Derrick White – Trombone
Tom Gibson – Bass Trombone
“Lil” John Roberts – Drums (left channel)
Terreon “Tank” Gully - Drums (right channel)
Kevin Scott – Bass
Phil Davis – Keyboards
Rod Harris Jr. – Guitar
Ali Barr – Percussion
Dionne Farris – Vocals
Rasheeda Ali – Flute
Mamaniji Azanyah – Acoustic Bass
Alex Han – Alto Saxophone
Recorded by Michael Schneck
Mixed and mastered by “Super” Dave Darlington
Additional recording by Phil Davis
Recorded in Atlanta, Georgia
In recent years I've become increasingly interested and appreciative of the Jazz genre, and over that time I've come to recognize Yazz Ahmed as being exceptionally skilled and talented, producing really strong work that I greatly appreciate and enjoy.
Her release "Polyhymnia" is a particular favorite, offering a collection of songs that are very engaging, and thoroughly entertaining. Definitely an excellent place to start in an exploration of work by this very talented artist... rikm
Lakecia knocks this one out of the park! She does justice to the music of John and Alice Coltrane. Excellent production with Lakecia and co-producer Reggie Workman. Yes, that guy, the legend! Lots of special guests with Jazzmeia Horn, Brandee Younger, Marcus Strickland and Dee Dee Bridgewater to name a few. One of the best releases of 2020! Perhaps the next release will be on vinyl? Music of this quality deserves it! Rob O.