Harriet Tubman: The Band
Ascension
SSC1274
2011-04-19
 Ascension by Harriet Tubman cover

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Track List: listen

Ascension - 8:10
Ritual Rubbin\' - 2:33
Down Shift / Ascension - 5:16
Night Master / Ascension - 6:58
Ascension - 7:01
Stellar Attraction - 3:44
Probe - 3:43
Sideral Flux - 4:04
Plasmaroďd - 4:06
Widely Known - 6:15

 

Musicians:
Brandon Ross - guitar
Melvin Gibbs - electric bass
JT Lewis - drums
Ron Miles - trumpet
DJ Logic - turntables
DJ Singe - turntables

"Harriet Tubman was formed in 1998 by guitarist Brandon Ross, bassist Melvin Gibbs and drummer J.T. Lewis. The group is named after the woman who led hundreds of African-Americans to freedom in the 1850s. Also known as “Moses,” Harriet was the most famous “conductor” of the Underground Railroad,
a clandestine network organized to enable enslaved African-Americans in the colonial American south to move north to freedom. She never lost any of the people she helped. If any of her charges had second thoughts during their journey and seemed to waver she would pull her gun out and tell them “you’ll be free or die a slave!”
The drive towards freedom that is personified by Harriet Tubman is the same drive that actualizes the aesthetic of the music and performances of Harriet Tubman: the band.
The focal point of that aesthetic is the point where transgression meets transcendence, the point where Saturday night becomes Sunday morning. This point is the center-point of Harriet Tubman’s creative axis. Harriet Tubman, (the band), uses the totality of their musical experiences to create. Tubman's compositional zone flows from non-linear compositional devices to the root musical structures of African-America.
Tubman creates compositions that explore this continuum using the same aesthetic that informs their day-to-day movement towards freedom.
The early musics of Africans in America embody this “movement towards freedom” aesthetic which is built on a dialog between the transgressive and the transcendent. All musics that were built on the African-American foundation, musics such as blues, jazz, funk, rock-and-roll, R&B, house, techno, hiphop, etc. contain it as well. The compositional tactics Harriet Tubman has developed (individually and collectively) to manipulate musical forms as well as their own virtuosity, construct the degrees of the “scale” of the content pole of their compositional axis.
The dialog between the concepts of transgression and transcendence constructs the degrees of scale of the formal pole of the axis. The axis encompasses spirituals, the blues, free jazz, funk and rock-and-roll alongside linear and nonlinear compositional devices. These ingredients are not necessarily mashed up, remixed or bricolaged. They are re-aligned, re-set. They are moved in a way analogous to how Harriet Tubman moved people.
They are driven towards freedom.
— Melvin Gibbs"

Reviews:

Nice interview with HT in Burning Ambulance.

Phil Freeman, Burning Ambulance - May 2011 read the full article

Excellent review by John Garratt on Popmatters.com.

John Garratt, PopMatters - June 2011 read the full article

Nice interview by Larry Blumenfeld in the Wall Street Journal!

Larry Blumenfeld, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL - June 2011 read the full article

Nice review of "Ascension" in Jazz News (France).

Jacques Denis, Jazz News - October 2011 read the full article

Nice article from Jazz News in French.

Jacques Denis, Jazz News - November 2011 read the full article

Very nice review in Jazz Magazine (France) - Oct. 2011!

Julien Ferté, Jazz Magazine - October 2011 read the full article

 

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