All About Jazz, a website dedicated to the love and art of jazz, held an interview with Idris Ackamoor ’73 about his album Shaman! which is to be released on Britain’s Strut label in the summer of 2020. Shaman! is Ackamoor’s third album “with the post-2015 incarnation of his 1970s band, The Pyramids. It reunites Acakmoor with flutist Margaux Simmons, with whom he has co-founded The Pyramids in 1972.”
In the interview, Ackamoor speaks about how The Pyramids’ music was able to develop and come out of the Civil Rights movement, which was all about black consciousness. He explains that during this period, “There was a revolutionary spirit running through African American music.” Ackamoor was listening to artists like John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Pharoah Sanders, Sun Ra, Marvin Gaye, Albert Ayler, and Martha & The Vandellas at the time.
Ackamoor reflects upon the early days of The Pyramids and how they were able to develop their own distinct sound which was deeply rooted in the affirmation of their African heritage. In 1972, he recalls touring and traveling through Africa with The Pyramids – a trio at the time. They traveled from Morocco to Senegal to Ghana and continued on to Uganda, Kenya, and Ethiopia where they experienced first-hand “the ritual power of music and its ability to bind communities together – the twin tenets of first-wave Afro-Futurist jazz, which combined science fiction-inspired magical realism with black consciousness-inspired socio-political activism.”
Image courtesy of Idris Ackamoor on All About Jazz