New Album: Idris Ackamoor & the Pyramids

Cosmic-jazz pioneers the Pyramids were founded by saxophonist Idris Ackamoor and electric bassist Kimathi Asante in San Francisco in 1973, a few years after Ackamoor’s fellow saxophonist Pharoah Sanders had perfected his own strand of the music over on the East Coast.

Between 1973 and 1976, the band, whose original line-up also included flautist Margo Simmons, self-released three of cosmic-jazz’s key texts with the albums Lalibela, King of Kings and Birth/Speed/Merging. Following the breakdown of Ackamoor and Simmons’ marriage, the Pyramids split and went their separate musical ways in 1977. They were rediscovered by a new generation of listeners 25 years later and were reformed by Ackamoor and Asante in 2007. In 2012, Gilles Peterson presented Ackamoor with a Lifetime Achievement award at his Worldwide Awards event in London.

We Be All Africans is a blinder – roots Afro-futurism at its most joyous and infectious. Ackamoor and Asante spent much of 1972 and 1973 travelling in north and west Africa, and African-informed drums and percussion continue to ground the band’s arrangements. Ackamoor’s vocalised tones and textures are as magical and magnetic as ever.

Among the striking new voices is violinist Sandra Poindexter, whose visceral playing lights up the album (and will remind Frank Zappa initiates of Don 'Sugarcane' Harris’ contributions to Zappa’s instrumental masterpiece, Hot Rats). Co-producers Ackamoor and Max Weissenfeldt add quietly-trippy electronica to around half of the tracks.

File next to the best of Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra and Alice Coltrane.