Recent Recordings by Area Musicians

In their recent recording, Ancestral Alliances, the Detroit-rooted jazz ensemble In the Tradition presents praise songs and some exciting instrumentals. Throughout these offerings there is a sense of deep homage to the African inspired motifs created by the great Pharaoh Sanders a half century ago. Saxophonist Olujimi A. Tafataona notes that “we felt the need to commune with those who came before us” so as to “fortify our connections with them.” This focus gives substance to several cuts on this date.

On “Brother Chokwe Lumumba,” steady congas support soaring baritone sax, followed by searing violin and lyrical piano riffs. “Do You Remember Gabriel Prosser” offers a Latin ensemble intro featuring trumpet, tenor and alto sax, trombone, piano, with a very danceable conga backbeat. Aurora Harris’ spoken word cut tells the story of “Stephen,” a traitor to his people. Other tunes, like “Chocolate Buttermilk” drift off into an upbeat pop groove.

Tafataona and Imari Jendayl are the main figures on the recording as they produce, arrange, sing and play several instruments. The Disc Ltd. recording is expertly mastered by Steve Somers of Alley Records, Ypsilanti. There is plenty to sample on this two-CD set, with Tafataona writing most of the tunes, along with those by John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Jimmy Heath, Wayne Shorter and George Gershwin. So while not all of the cuts herein reach the heights of the grand tradition aspired to, many do. So hit the Play button and experience this blissful journey “In the Tradition.” You can download the recording on CD Baby, and more information is available on