Philip Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble
Philip Cohran, a trumpeter born in Mississippi, was an early member of the Sun Ra Arkestra, but he stayed in Chicago when that group moved to the East Coast in 1961. He was a founding member of the AACM in 1965, and in 1967 recorded this album, which has also been released as On The Beach. It features 11 musicians — including Pete Cosey on guitar, though the pyrotechnic solos he’d play with Miles Davis between 1973 and 1975 are not heard — and two female vocalists. The music blends romping soul jazz with African-derived grooves; Cohran plays cornet, violin, and the “Frankiphone,” which is basically an electrified kalimba or mbira. (Maurice White was inspired by Cohran to use the kalimba with Earth, Wind & Fire.) Intensely rhythmic and high-energy without ever going totally free, it represents one man’s unique and fascinating musical vision. No wonder he couldn’t stay under Sun Ra’s yoke; he had too many ideas of his own.