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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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We Insist!
Freedom Now Suite

Candid CCD 79002 





1. Driva’ Man

2. Freedom Day
3. Triptych: Prayer/ Protest/ Peace
4. All Africa
5. Tears for Johannesburg


Max Roach – Drums
Julian Priester – Trombone
Walter Benton, Coleman Hawkins – Tenor saxes
James Schenck – Bass
Michael Olatunji – Congas
Ray Mantilla, Tomas DuVall – Percussion

Abbey Lincoln  - Vocals 
Original Recording 1960, New York City 

In 1960 there was still much racial prejudice in the USA and demonstrations were taking place at various universities, to bring this injustice to the awareness of people in America and throughout the world. It was quite an unusual occurrence for jazz musicians to get involved, musicians generally are too concerned with their work to indulge in politics. 

Max Roach, one of the most exceptional talents on the jazz scene, composed this suite with the assistance of Oscar Brown Jnr., and put together an all-star cast to perform it.

The sleeve note makes reference to the fact that many African countries were breaking their links with the colonialists. In hindsight we can see that some did well from this, but others went from one hell to another when ruled by their own. 

The important thing of course is the music. Max Roach along with the whole supporting group was on fine form, and they obviously thought that this record was important enough to give of their best. Some of the music is more of a jazz parody than jazz itself and, with only 35 minutes of play time, it is not great value for money. Much of the All Africa piece is taken up with the percussion section, which is excellent, but it does seem a shame that they had the likes of Booker Little and Coleman Hawkins on hand, without them making a contribution. 

Abbey Lincoln has the kind of voice required to carry off the performance of such a suite. Some of her later work I did not care for, but she is very good in this setting. 

Thankfully the horns return for Tears for Johannesburg. 

This record is an interesting piece of both jazz and political history

Don Mather


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