Horace Tapscott Sextet ‘Dial ‘B’ For Barbra’ 2LP (Pure Pleasure) 4/5

After his seminal ensemble albums by the Pan-Afrikan People’s Arkestra around 1978-79, Horace Tapscott recorded the more swinging straight ahead album‘‘Dial B for Barbra’. Released through Nimbus West in 1981, the album is much less complex than some of his larger works, reconnecting his roots and influences and incorporating them within his avant-garde leanings. Traces of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and other early musical luminaries can be heard throughout this exceptional album, but there’s no doubt those influences are always being filtered through the artistry of Horace Tapscott and the sextet.

Pure Pleasure Records have added two tracks to the album and changed the presentation from a single to a double gatefold album with added sleevenotes. Featured alongside Horace Tapscott on the piano are Gary Bias on alto and soprano saxophone, Roberto Miranda on bass, Everett Brown Jr. on drums, Reggie Bullen on trumpet and Sabir Matteen on tenor saxophone.

Both Horace Tapscott and Roberto Miguel Miranda were an integral part of the labels roster, outlook and direction, bringing together musicians with a serious dedication to not just the art but the important grassroots work that was so important for the community of L.A. They were true influencers, musicians and teachers. All the musicians who featured on this album were an integral part of a much bigger social movement that supported and harnessed creativity from within the community. As with all the Horace Tapscott releases, ‘Dial B for Barbra’ beautifully captures the collective spirit and individual creativity.

A prominent member of the Union Of God’s Musicians And Artists Ascension (UGMAA), Horace Tapscott brought a real community spirit to his music and yet again this important album highlights the depth and soul within the music. The album is a real work of art and the 19 minutes ‘Dem Folks’ hooks you in straight away. The pianist/composer was known to be inspired by the style of Thelonious Monk, and it seems clearly evident with his approach and originality on Linda Hill’s 19-minute composition. The infectious building harmonic structures feature those same percussive odd timed vamps as Thelonious Monk, which keeps a sense of anticipation and framework for the free-spirited soloing by Gary Bias, Sabir Matteen and Reggie Bullen.

The nod to Miles Davis’ classic standard ‘Milestones’ is evident on the upbeat swinging ‘Lately’s Solo’ with Horace Tapscott, Everett Brown Jr, and Roberto Miranda’s distinctive bass sounds underpinning the flying colours of Gary Bias, Sabir Matteen and Reggie Bullen. The unique relationship between bassist Roberto Miranda and Horace Tapscott is evident on this and every track on the album. The bass violin gives a unique sound that complements Horace Tapscott’s depth and style.

‘Dial B For Barbra’ is yet another superb album from the L.A based musician/educator for the Nimbus West label.

Mark Jones

Read aslo:
Horace Tapscott ‘Live at Lobero, Vol. 2’ 180g Vinyl (Pure Pleasure) 4/5
Horace Tapscott ‘Live at Lobero’ 180g Vinyl (Pure Pleasure) 4/5
Horace Tapscott Conducting The Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra ‘Flight 17’ LP (Outernational Sounds) 5/5
Horace Tapscott with the Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra ‘Live At I.U.C.C.’ LP (Outernational Sounds) 5/5
Horace Tapscott Conducting The Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra ‘The Call’ LP (Outernational Sounds) 5/5