OHIO PENITENTIARY 511 JAZZ ENSEMBLE - HARD LUCK SOUL (LP)


"If musical accomplishment is anything to go by, the members of the Ohio Penitentiary 511 Jazz Ensemble would immediately be given their pardon. Their privately-pressed LP from 1971 is a legend in obscurity, and a masterclass in what can be achieved in the most trying of circumstances. The 511 Jazz Ensemble was made up entirely of serving prisoners in the Ohio State Penitentiary. It was founded in 1971 to give those prisoners with a musical aptitude an opportunity to be productive and creative. Band leader Reynard Birtha was originally from North Carolina, where he played in a band called 'The Outer Limits' before getting into a scrape with the law and being incarcerated by the local Sheriff's office. During a stint on a Southern style road gang he escaped and ended up in Cincinnati, and through a mutual passion for music he met fellow musician Logan Rollins, nephew of jazz legend Sonny Rollins. They became friends and jammed at local clubs before both ended up in the State penitentiary, for reasons not entirely clear. The 'Hard Luck Blues' LP was the band's only recording, and the group disbanded after the release of Logan and Rollins. The music on the album comprises of four long tracks, each allowing the soloists to express themselves without restriction. Free of chains at the time the music is made, the result is a unique, compelling insight into the freedom that jazz can afford, giving a sense of hope and liberty to free and incarcerated men alike." (label info)
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in stock | UK| 2012| JAZZMAN | 23.90


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