Mid 2013, Amir’s label 180 Proof gave us an exclusive free download track, “Orotunds”, from the upcoming reissue of the great Avant-Garde Jazz record of the same name from Chicago multi-instrumentalist Maulawi. Orotunds, slated for release on or around April 1, 2014 is something really special. For those of you not familiar with Maulawi, here’s a bit of background. Real name unknown to many who played with him, Maulawi Nururdin hailed from Chicago and was the brother in law of pianist Ahmad Jamal. With close ties to the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians’ Muhal Richard Abrams, Fred Anderson, Billy Brimfield and Roscoe Mitchell, Maulawi was also a mentor to many young musicians in the Windy City. It was his ties to his student Adam Rudolph that brought him together with Strata’s Contemporary Jazz Quartet and Charles Moore. This meeting would garnish the first non Detroit artist to drop a record on Strata, Maulawi’s self titled debut for the label, which would lead to this record with Maulawi as both musician and band leader. The session for Orotunds, most likely recorded in late 1973, has not seen the light of day until now. Running through his interpretations of Herbie Hancock’s “Maiden Voyage”, R & B classics “People Make The World Go Round” and “I Say A Little Prayer”, the aforementioned track, plus three other tracks, this gem of a record is deep. “Where Is The Place” is an airy, spiritual piece that has Maulawi and his saxophone exploring things we not yet know of. The remaining two, an unknown track that is an upbeat funky Jazz, bordering on hard Funk track and the “Maulawi Spoken Outro” round out the seven songs rescued by the 180 Proof team. This outro, one of the very few recordings of Maulawi’s voice, explains the meaning of the record’s title (“full, clearness, strength and smoothness”). This release is another important one for 180 Proof and Amir, who are preserving this music that would otherwise get lost in the shuffle. This kind of music and the musicians who made it is slowly fading away. Unfortunately, this record goes to pre-sale just as the co-producer of the record Bud Spangler passed on January 16th. His work will be preserved on this release. Once again, this label has done what they do best, document this music and its history by getting this record out to a whole new audience, old and new collectors alike. The record cover is an interpretation of what it may have looked like had it been released, and with a gatefold of liner notes by Ronnie Reese, it is beautifully packaged. Also included in some of the Collectors Bundles, are an unreleased 45 by Detroit artists The SoulMates. Again, not much is known about this track, as it features Strata artist Nengue and was also recorded sometime in 1973 as well. A two sider, the A side “I’m Really Gonna Miss You” is a slow jam of a love song with the lead vocals in Spanish and the background vocals in English, and the flip “People, We Gotta Better” is a Northern Soul stomper. A true bonus for this project. Along with the normal black vinyl pressing, 180 Proof has teamed up with Slice of Spice Records on this effort to bring you exclusive, limited edition collectors packs featuring a variety of limited edition items offered for pre-sale today:
With the pre-sale of the record and packages, starting today, February 1, 180 Proof and Slice of Spice will be offering up a free, exclusive d/l of the A-Side of the 45, “People We Gotta Do Better”.
Click here to d/l the track for free for seven days.
PRE-ORDER Maulawi Orotunds HERE.
More info on 180 Proof here.
More info on Slice of Spice here.