"Reading Group is thrilled to announce The Hands of Grace, a new album of original music by the legendary novelist, essayist, poet, critic, and playwright Ishmael Reed (b. Tennessee, 1938). The Hands of Grace presents for the first time the original music that Reed composed for his 2021 play, “The Slave Who Loved Caviar,” which was read at the Nuyorican Poets Café and premiered at the Theater for the New City in 2021. Also featured on the album are several other solo piano and ensemble compositions by Reed, with accompaniment from Roger Glenn (flute), Ray Obiedo (guitar), Carla Blank (violin), and Tennessee Reed (voice).
Reed’s compositions on The Hands of Grace range from humor and pastiche to arresting beauty. The intimate and idiosyncratic sound calls to mind the off-kilter beauty of Charles Mingus’s piano record and Carman Moore’s score (also on Reading Group) for Personal Problems (1980), the brilliant “black soap opera” that Reed co-developed with Steve Cannon and Bill Gunn. Opening with a minimalist meditation on Jean-Michel Basquiat (also the subject of the play), and moving through blues tunes, descriptive pieces, and tributes to poet Lucille Clifton and Reed’s partner Carla Blank, the record closes with a moving ode to Reed’s late daughter Timothy. The Hands of Grace offers a deep dive into the musicality of this inimitable artist.
Edition of 250 CDs, with liner note essays by Ishmael Reed and Fred Moten.
After nearly a decade of false starts, multiple game plans veering off the rails, and a handful of shattered hopes and/or dreams, the odyssey is finally complete—the new Fusetron site is here.
This is the first phase of a multipart rollout that will span the next few months: the currently browsable stock includes miscellaneous new releases from the past 8+ months (we have a lot of catching up to do), plus approximately a third of our backstock. Note that we’ve reduced/slashed prices on many titles and will continue to do so in order to make room for new stock. We’ll also be expanding / tweaking / improving / debugging the site itself (for example, we still have work to do on the automated international postage system, not to mention the inevitable inventory discrepancies that come with transferring an ancient and massive database to a new system).
Over the next few months, as we take inventory, clean house, and delve into our storage, we will be uploading thousands of additional items, gradually, on a near-daily basis. This will include the majority of the LPs, as well as many titles, in all formats, once thought long-gone. Many currently “sold out” items are likely to resurface.
Finally, once our general backstock is up (probably in the next two or three months) we’ll begin making our extensive stockpile of rarities available online for the first time: tons of random out-of-print titles, "deadstock," warehouse finds, secondhand collectibles, etc., accumulated over the past few decades.
Frequent/returning customers will be getting early access to these items. Details to follow on how this will work (a priority mailing list? a 'frequent flyer'-like program?), but it will not be based on dollars spent. We want to reward those who consistently support us, especially in the discogs marketplace era (to those who show up trying to poach five copies of a one-off rarity, and nothing else, ever… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ).
So—we suggest you take some time to dig through the site—even we’ve been surprised by what’s been turning up, and there’s much more to come.