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A rare document of the 1960s Black Arts Movement featuring Albert Ayler, Amiri Baraka, Milford Graves, Sun Ra, Cecil Taylor, and many more, The Cricket fostered critical and political dialogue for Black musicians and writers. Edited by poets and writers Amiri Baraka, A.B. Spellman, and Larry Neal between 1968 and 1969 and published by Baraka’s New Jersey–based Jihad productions shortly after the time of the Newark Riots, this experimental music magazine ran poetry, position papers, and gossip alongside concert and record reviews and essays on music and politics. Over four mimeographed issues, The Cricket laid out an anticommercial ideology and took aim at the conservative jazz press, providing a space for critics, poets, and journalists (including Stanley Crouch, Haki Madhubuti, Ishmael Reed, Sonia Sanchez and Keorapetse Kgositsile) and a range of musicians, from Mtume to Black Unity Trio, to devise new styles of music writing. The publication emerged from the heart of a political movement—“a proto-ideology, akin to but younger than the Garveyite movement and the separatism of Elijah Mohammed,” as Spellman writes in the book’s preface—and aimed to reunite advanced art with its community, “to provide Black Music with a powerful historical and critical tool” and to enable avant-garde Black musicians and writers “to finally make a way for themselves.” This publication gathers all issues of the magazine with an introduction by poet and scholar David Grundy, who argues that The Cricket “attempted something that was in many ways entirely new: creating a form of music writing which united politics, poetry, and aesthetics as part of a broader movement for change; resisting the entire apparatus through which music is produced, received, appreciated, distributed, and written about in the Western world; going well beyond the tried-and-tested journalistic route of description, evaluation, and narration.” --- David Grundy is the author of A Black Arts Poetry Machine: Amiri Baraka and the Umbra Poets (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019) and coeditor, with Lauri Scheyer, of Selected Poems of Calvin C. Hernton  (Wesleyan University Press, forthcoming). He is currently a British Academy Fellow at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom, where he is working on two manuscripts, Survival Music: Free Jazz Then and Now and Never by Itself Alone: Queer Poetry in Boston and San Francisco, 1943–Present  (Oxford University Press, forthcoming), and a further edited collection on Umbra.  A.B. Spellman is a poet, music critic, and former director of the Arts in Education Study Project for the National Endowment of the Arts.

THE CRICKET: BLACK MUSIC IN EVOLUTION, 1968–69

'The latest entry in An’archives’ ‘Free Wind Mood’ series, Ki is a trio that pits long-time collaborators Tamio Shiraishi (saxophone, voice) and Takahashi Michiko aka Mico (drums, voice, vocoder, melodica, piano, percussion) against drummer, percussionist and vocalist Fritz Welch. They each bring a wealth of experience, from Shiraishi’s early moves in the Japanese underground of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s – he was a founding member of Fushitsusha, and played with Taco and Machinegun Tango – to his legendary, late-night solo New York subway performances; he and Mico also spent some time playing with No Neck Blues Band, while Welch, currently based in Glasgow, has a long history taking in stints with Peeesseye, Lambs Gamble and FvRTvR. Tearful Face Of My Cute Love (Is Begging To Me), named after a yakuza song, is Ki’s first LP, after CD-Rs on Chocolate Monk (Ki No Sei, 2009) and Unverified (Stops Dropping, 2010). Documenting two live performances from 2008, it’s a startling, wild freedom chase, each piece stretching languorously across one side of the vinyl, giving the trio maximum space to thunder their way through space and time. Their West Nile 2008 show, on side one, opens with a battery of drums, fierce and livid, before Shiraishi’s unmistakable and remarkable whinnying, high-zone tone slithers into earshot. The stage is set, the battle moves forward, yet there’s remarkable simpatico between the three players, with Mico and Welch volleying guttural vocal exhortations at each other. When it does offer respite – see the sudden swoop into near- silence at around 12:30– everything’s still tense; who knows what’s around the corner? For all its fury, though, Tearful Face Of My Cute Love… is full of oddly lyrical moments, too – see the sweet melody that winds out, with gentle melancholy, near the very end of the West Nile performance. This lyricism also haunts the second side of the album, a performance from Glassland, Brooklyn, which seems more focused on the intersection of incidents, from clattering cymbals to ghostly swarms of sax scream, to dive-bombing spirals of vocoder. There’s an appealing sense of audio verité here, as though you’re in theroom with the performers, shaken and stirred by every movement, lost in the interlocking maze they’re weaving in real time. It’s a bracing, thrilling document of very immediate, human music – of three bodies moving through the world, sounding their environment.' - John Dale

Ki – Tearful face of my cute love [is begging to me]

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