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Updated: Jul 25, 2023

Think of a big name in Bop and Post-bop Jazz and Max Roach has probably drummed with them, as well as releasing the seminal protest album ‘We Insist’ with ABBEY LINCOLN. “Members, Don’t Get Weary” is a lesser known protest album recorded during the year 1968, in which some awful things happened in the United States.

The album opens with ‘Abstrutions, a swinging blues-based Jazz that reminded me of Eddie Harris’s ‘Freedom Jazz Dance’, much covered not only by mainstream Jazz artists, but by BRIAN AUGER and his OBLIVION EXPRESS. There is some magnificent interplay by Gary Bartz on sax and Charles Tolliver (and some out of this world blowing and drumming on final track ‘Absolutions’). In between it’s all good with Jymie Merritt, also a much in-demand session man high up on the mix on his electric bass: I think Lee Jackson of THE NICE must have been listening in view of the trebly style and sound. The album is all instrumental apart from the title track which features Andy Bey’s powerful and emotive vocals.

Credit must go to Giles Peterson for digging this out for re-release for his Arc label with a colour insert. It is out on 14th July and priced at around £25 (That’s what many single albums seem to cost these days!) There are alternatives of course, and “Members, Don’t Get Weary” is an essential for any serious Jazz collection.

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