“A remarkable book” -The New Yorker “If there can be such a thing as a revolutionary coffee table book, Freedom Rhythm & Sound is it–a chance to wallow in the Afrocentric visual language of the non-mainstream black jazz vinyl of this extraordinary fertile and creative period.” -Eye “Like the uncompromising music they represent, all the covers broadcast a sense of bold, brazen ideology” -Pitchfork “For decades, no one was sure how to refer to this extraordinary music. Calling it ‘fire music’ does justice to its incandescent spirit, still burning from the pages of a book that preserves the memory of a special time.” –The Guardian
This is a unique collection of cover artwork of revolutionary jazz released in the USA in the 1970s, a time of great political and social importance for African-American artists. Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and John Coltrane loom large as self-determination, economic power and musical freedom led to artists finding new paths–both musical and economic. Away from the mainstream, many of these musicians chose to take control of their economic worth by recording, releasing and distributing their own material. Thirty years later and these artefacts are a striking reflection of the time, pre-desktop publishing, pre-internet, these small-run (sometimes as low as 500 copies), self-made sleeves are as iconic and historically important as the revolution of DIY culture that sprang out of punk.
Soul Jazz Records has produced many releases relating to this music and this book is the first-ever collection of this amazing artwork. It comes with a lengthy introduction contextualizing the music and artwork and relating how the music came about, plus interviews with many of the people involved.