Dogon A.D. album cover
Dogon A.D.

Julius Hemphill


Alto saxophonist Julius Hemphill’s debut album, self-released in 1972 on his own Mbari label, then reissued five years later on Arista, is a stark, sometimes frightening masterpiece. On the opening title piece, Hemphill and trumpeter Baikida Carroll march to Philip Wilson’s militaristic beat, driven on by Abdul Wadud’s fierce cello. The saxophonist, like Ornette Coleman born in Fort Worth, Texas (they attended the same high school, eight years apart), is similarly driven to explode and embrace the blues at once, but he’s got a theatrical flair that turns avant-garde jazz into ecstatic ritual.

Phil Freeman

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