Kuumba Reunion

Kuumba Reunion

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Often there is something special about communities attached to waterways and the Jefferson-Chalmers neighborhood is no exception. Located on the extreme northeast side of Detroit, as this is being written in 2017, like so much of Detroit it is undergoing a rejuvenation. But in the late 1970s there was a special energy in Jefferson -Chalmers that was unique to the city. It attracted creative people from all over and it was at 256 Ashland that Kuumba was formed by RJ Spangler and Rick Steiger. Kuumba was a culmination of the jazz, Latin and African music we were hearing live and on record. Most notable among our influences were Sun Ra, Abdullah Ibrahim, Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers and The Art Ensemble of Chicago on the national/international scene and Griot Galaxy, Roy Brooks, Tribe & CJQ on the local scene. Another big influence on us was the New York Loft Scene and its self-determination movement that was mirrored in Detroit by bassist Shoobedoo at his Space Pad on Avery in the Woodbridge neighborhood.

This collection of music was recorded in the summer of 2016, right after our first reunion performance. The musicians here came together from across Detroit and from as far away at Texas and Florida. Of the Detroiters, some had steadily remained colleagues, performing together consistently in the decades in between, others had lost touch with the others and some had got out of music for long periods of time. Some traveled across the globe playing music.


This recording that reflects that diversity of experience. 40 years is a long time, but everyone involved knew it was the right time to revisit this music and these friendships. This self-determination music or Kujichagulia in Swahili. DIY music, which started in the 70's and is again a vital aspect of the arts.

Kuumba includes Rick Steiger & Tim Mitchem - alto saxes, Fred Bergman - tenor sax, Goode Wyche III, baritone sax, James O'Donnell & John DougLas - trumpets, Tbone Paxton & James Cain - trombone David Springer & Mike Cazabon - eLec bass, Djallo Djakate & SuLe Neale - drum set, Akunda Hollis - congas, RJ SpangLer - percussion. Rick Steiger & RJ SpangLer - bandLeaders, Scott Strawbridge and RJ SpangLer - co -producers, AL Rude - engineer


1. Three Fingered Fist (Jabber) 5/4 modal. 3:40
2. Movement East (Musa) Mellow Afro modal. 8:32
3. From the Air (Steiger) Latin/calypso. 3:16
4. Island in the Sun (Sun Ra) Afro modal. 4:29
5. Tarishi (Babatunde) Funky 6:91
6. Laura In the Rain (Nowel) 5/4 Mellow Modal. 5:57
7. Olhos DeGato (C. 13Ley) Latin 4:44
8. Kuumba Vamp (Kuumba) Afro -Latin -Free Jazz 5:40

Eastlawn Records Catalog