Gotta Groove

BLACK UNITY TRIO - Al-Fatihah (2021 Repress)

2021 second edition. "Black Unity Trio - Al Fatihah quite possibly was the first independently released free jazz record ever. Originating in Oberlin, Ohio as the Black Unity Quartet, and ultimately becoming the Trio (Abdul Wadud, Yusuf Mumin, and Hasan Al Hut), the group recorded Al Fatihah in December 24, 1968 at Agency Recording Studio (which was located upstairs in the building housing the legendary Agora Theatre in Cleveland, Ohio). The album ultimately was released in May 1969 in an edition of 500 copies. The album has been legendary among collectors, producers, and DJs in the past several decades, and has been sampled numerous times on other releases. Much mystery surrounded the origins of the album, as well as the status of the musicians, until 2020 when The Wire published an interview with Hasan. Many underground jazz purists know about the intense, though relatively short-lived hotbed of avant-garde jazz in Cleveland, Ohio during the mid-to-late 1960s. Clubs such as Leo's Casino, Jazz Temple, The Doan Club, Le Cave and a few private clubs saw many young avant-garde jazz acts during this time period. I first learned of Black Unity Trio when seeking out tapes of Albert Ayler playing at Le Cave. From that point forward, I had a mission to seek out the members and see if they would be interested in making a vinyl reissue of Al Fatihah. Most of my efforts ran into dead ends, and it did not take very long to learn that the members, perhaps, were content with letting the record fall into the annals of crate digging history. Then in 2019, I received a phone call from someone referring to himself as 'Ron'; who wanted to bring some tapes by the pressing plant. Whenever I get a call on the subject of tapes, my first question is 'how old are the tapes?'. The caller replied 'late 1960's''. Of course, this perked my interest even more, so I asked what sort of material was on the tapes, to which he replied 'Oh, spiritual jazz''. 'Really?'; I replied, even more interested than ever - particularly since the caller id showed a 216 area code phone number. Then he proceeded to say 'it's called the Black Unity Trio''. I about dropped the phone; 'Are you serious, I have been trying to get a hold of you guys for a year!' I replied. Ron (Abdul) was surprised by that statement. But, it led to months of additional conversations with both he and Yusuf about how to get the record back into the world, and eventually I was introduced to Hasan as well. After many phone conferences, we were able to come to an agreement to reissue this seminal free jazz record via Gotta Groove Records' OHWax series. Yusuf personally brought the original 1968 master tapes to Cleveland in early 2020, and we have been working on the audio restoration and package details ever since. We have spared no expense in making this reissue. Our friend Grammy-Award recipient Paul Blakemore's restoration and remastering work cleaned random ticks from the original source, as well as greatly improved the balance to bring out some of the instrument subtleties which were barely, if at all audible, in the original pressing. We also used Gotta Groove's proprietary GrooveCoated stamper plating technology -- This involves an additional electroforming step in the creation of the metal stampers used to press the grooves into the records. GrooveCoated stampers have a lubricious surface which helps high frequencies in particular to be held more intact during the course of manufacturing, verses traditional stampers. This is a record I am truly proud and excited to be working on, and I look forward to a new generation of vinyl listeners to have access to it." --Matt Earley, Executive Producer. The musicians of Black Unity Trio are paid at least 70% of the profits from this release by Gotta Groove Records, Inc." - Gotta Groove Records.
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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.
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