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Olu Dara

Although he didn’t record under his own name until 1998, Olu Dara enjoyed a reputation among the jazz avant-garde’s leading trumpeters in the mid-’70s on. Early-’80s information and performances using the David Murray Octet as well as the Henry Threadgill Sextet uncovered Dara to be always a daring, roots-bound soloist, with today’s imagination and a huge burnished build in the design of Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge. Dara was created Charles Jones. He transferred to NY in 1963, but didn’t perform publicly before early ’70s, when he became an integral part of the city’s loft jazz lifestyle. By that point, he had transformed his name towards the Yoruba Olu Dara. Besides his use Murray and Threadgill, Dara also used Hamiet Bluiett, Adam “Bloodstream” Ulmer, and Don Pullen, amongst others. Dara was an intermittent existence in the jazz picture in the ’80s and ’90s, sometimes leading his Okra Orchestra and Natchezsippi Dance Music group. In 1985, he documented with Pullen and in 1987, with saxophonist Charles Brackeen; in the ’90s he caused vocalist Cassandra Wilson, playing on her behalf Blue Note record, Blue Light ‘Til Dawn. Very little else was noticed from him — from a jazz perspective, in any case — until 1998, when Atlantic released In the Globe: From Natchez to NY, the first record released under Dara’s name. The record was just tangentially linked to his free of charge jazz function. The music drew upon country-blues and African-American folk customs. Furthermore to playing trumpet and cornet, Dara constructed every one of the music, sung, and followed himself on electric guitar. Atlantic released Dara’s follow-up, entitled Neighborhoods, in early 2001.

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