Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah (LTD Edition Reissue)

$29.99

Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah quite possibly was the first-ever independently-released free jazz record. Originating in Oberlin, Ohio as the Black Unity Quartet, and ultimately becoming the Trio (Abdul Wadud, Yusuf Mumin, and Hasan Al Hut), the group recorded Al Fatihah in December 24, 1968 at Agency Recording Studio (which was located upstairs in the building housing the legendary Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio). The album ultimately was released in May 1969 in an edition of 500 copies.

The album has been legendary among collectors, producers, and DJs in the past several decades, and has been sampled numerous times on other releases. Much mystery surrounded the origins of the album, as well as the status of the musicians, until 2020 when The Wire published an interview with Hasan.

Many underground jazz purists know about the intense, though relatively short-lived hotbed of avant-garde jazz in Cleveland, Ohio during the mid-to-late 1960s. Clubs such as Leo’s Casino, Jazz Temple, The Doan Club, Le Cave and a few private clubs saw many young avant-garde jazz acts during this time period.

We have spared no expense in making this reissue. Our friend Grammy-Award recipient Paul Blakemore’s restoration and remastering work cleaned random ticks from the original source, as well as greatly improved the balance to bring out some of the instrument subtelties which were barely, if at all audible, in the original pressing. We also used Gotta Groove’s proprietary GrooveCoated stamper plating technology — This involves an additional electroforming step in the creation of the metal stampers used to press the grooves into the records. GrooveCoated stampers have a lubricious surface which helps high frequencies in particular to be held more intact during the course of manufacturing, verses traditional stampers.

This limited edition Sequentially Numbered GrooveCoated pressing features:

– SOURCED FROM ORIGINAL 1968 SCOTCH 201 MASTER TAPES
– TAPE RESTORATION & REMASTERING DONE BT MULTI-GRAMMY AWARD WINNING ENGINEER PAUL BLAKEMORE
– LACQUERS CUT FROM ANALOG TAPE (ALL ANALOG CHAIN) BY CLINT HOLLEY & DAVE POLSTER (WELL MADE MUSIC CUTTING STUDIO)
– GOTTA GROOVE PROPRIETARY GROOVECOATED PLATING TECHNOLOGY
– GATEFOLD JACKET WITH EXCLUSIVE LINER NOTES WRITTEN BY RAS MOSHE BURNETT
– GOTTA GROOVE ANTI-STATIC RICE PAPER SLEEVES
– DIGITAL DOWNLOAD, FEATURING HIGH RESOLUTION TAPE TRANSFER AUDIO.

To minimize the environmental impact of this release without compromising quality, this record is manufactured as 150 gram black vinyl, packaged in deluxe gatefold jackets constructed of 100% recycled chipboard, and wrapped in 100% recycled/recyclable polybags.

70% OF THE PROFITS FROM THIS RELEASE WILL BE PAID DIRECTLY BLACK UNITY TRIO, COMBINED WITH A DONATION TO BLACK LIVES MATTER.

Please note that international transit timeframes cannot be guaranteed.  Orders are limited to two copies per customer. 

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Description

AL- FATIHAH TRACKLISTING:

SIDE ONE
BIRTH, LIFE, AND DEATH (10:27)
IN LIGHT OF BLACKNESS (9:59)

SIDE TWO
OPENING PRAYER (1:13)
JOHN’S VISION (9:18)
AL·NISA (4:42)
FINAL EXPRESSION (3:01)

Musicians:

Abdul Wadud
Yusuf Mumin
Hasan Al-Hut

Liner Notes: Ras Moshe Burnett
Audio Restoration & Remastering Engineer: Paul Blakemore
Cutting Engineers: Clint Holley & Dave Polster
GrooveCoated Stamper Plating Performed by Nipro Optics
Manufactured by Gotta Groove Records

LIMITED EDITION GROOVECOATED PRESSING
All stampers (which are the molds used to “stamp” the groove into records) are made of nickel. GrooveCoated stampers have a specialized lubricious coating applied after nickel formation that reduces surface tension and increases surface hardness. These factors combined can lead to greater high frequency reproduction and consistency throughout the pressing.

MASTERING NOTES
Original Scotch 201 master tape playback was done with a Mike Spitz, ATR Services rebuilt Ampex ATR100 series tape machine equipped with new Flux Magnetics heads using the finest Aria (David Neill – Cranesong) discrete class-A reproduce amplifiers. A Maselec MTC-2 transfer console was used for analog routing and monitor control. Audio was monitored using main ATC SCM-150 and alternate Ocean Way HR4-S tri-amplified monitor speakers. Clicks and hum were fixed using iZotope RX-7 audio restoration software running at 384 kHz sampling rate, 32 bit floating point. New analog cutting master tapes were recorded using the same ATR100 series tape machine precisely calibrated for use with Recording The Masters SM911 low print, high output tape, at 15 IPS, 2-track stereo. Merging Horus digital to analog converters at 384 kHz sampling rate were used to reproduce the restored audio. There is virtually no loss in sound quality from the original analog recording when using this extremely high resolution digital setup for restoration work. The frequency range of 10 Hz – 192 kHz of such a system is even capable of preserving the residual bias signal from the original tapes and is well over twice the audio frequency range that can be recorded onto analog tape. The dynamic range of more than 120 dB is also much greater than the dynamic range of typical analog tape, which is about 90 dB. The new analog master tapes for lacquer cutting retain the warmth of analog audio but with underlying imperfections in the original source corrected.

Cut on MDC lacquers in an all-analog chain by Clint Holley & Dave Polster on September 21, 2020.