Spiritual Messenger :: Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramid’s An Angel Fell

Since forming the Pyramids in the early 1970s, Idris Ackamoor has crafted a body of work fusing spiritual jazz with Afrobeat and lyrical mysticism with social justice. After studying with the late Cecil Taylor at Antioch College, Ackamoor traveled to Africa, learning new skills and picking up new instruments -- and settled in San Francisco, building a sound blending the cosmic jazz of Sun Ra with R&B, funk, and homespun folk-art. Like his noted inspiration Pharoah Sanders, he has a mighty, impassioned tone, and that sound propels Ackamoor's new album, An Angel Fell.

Working with a parred down Pyramids ensemble, he and his six-piece band create a beautiful and vivid song-cycle, employing spacey language to address the present moment, reflecting on the lingering traumas of Hurricane Katrina and the destructive storms that followed, the shooting of the 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and putting song to the Water Protectors' battle at Standing Rock. Inspirational is a word that gets tossed around a bit too loosely most the time, but it's hard to come up with a better term to describe the resilience in these sounds. Confronting grim realities, the Pyramids brew up a heady response. These aren't escapist jams. Rather, they position celebration at the center of the human struggle to be recognized. There's joy found in true justice.

In advance of the album's release this week, Ackamoor joins us to explore deeper song by song. His notes provide not only insight into An Angel Fell, but also Ackamoor's creative process itself. Let's dive in.

An Angel Fell by Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids

Idris, Messenger Of The Moon, arrives in ancient Fra Fra Land to attend the second burial of a Fra Fra King in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Meeting up with his spiritual guide Atibila he begins a series of rituals whereby he can walk the earth protected!

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