Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids reach their peak powers with their latest album Shaman!. The jazz collective created a stellar album that just adds to their impressive discography. The album was produced by Malcolm Catto at his analogue HQ, Quatermass Studio in London and the cover artwork features an exclusive painting by Japanese artist Tokio Aoyama. The album includes expansive tracks that touch on all different subjects, but blend together like they were meant to be. Ackamoor explains, “I wanted to use this album to touch on some of the issues that we all face as individuals in the inner space of our souls and our conscience. The album unfolds over four Acts with personal musical statements about love and loss, mortality, the afterlife, family and salvation.”
The expansive nine tracks tackle spiritual jazz with introspective themes, a different journey than their last release. Through different moods and emotions, Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids take you on a wild journey. Starting with the 12 minute title track, “Shaman!”, they dive straight into soul-searching and dealing with masucline vulnerability. The variety spreads through the song, showing the lengths they can go to with their talents. However that variety is not limited to this track, it shows through others like “Dogon Mysteries” and “Eternity”. Now more relevant than ever before, “When Will I See You Again” mourns the sudden loss of loved ones. This track could resonate most with people because of the crisis we are fighting everyday.
“Theme for Cecil” is Ackamoor’s tribute to his mentor Cecil Taylor, whom he studied piano with in the early 1970s. The tributes don’t stop here, they continue with “Salvation” and “The Last Slave Ship”. These tracks are paying homage to their ancestors and referencing the Clotilda, which was the last ship to bring slaves from Africa to the United States. And finally, the best for last, “Virgin”. It is an anthem of forgiveness, new beginnings and self-healing, and the collective’s best track on the album. It encompasses everything they were trying to capture and ties the album together.
Although the band was formed in the early 1970s, time has done nothing but helped to season these professionals and it shows. It would feel like an injustice to not name those involved on the project, because of the talent and work put into this project. This fresh line-up includes original 1970s Pyramids member Dr. Margaux Simmons on flute, Bobby Cobb on guitar, long-term associate Sandra Poindexter on violin, Ruben Ramos on bass, Gioele Pagliaccia on drums and Jack Yglesias on percussion. Shaman! shows that they are not playing around and that they are here to make the best music they can.