Idris Ackamoor, A Musical Portrait

Ludovico Granvassu By

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This week we feature an exclusive interview with, and two hours of music by, Idris Ackamoor, the bay area saxophonist who will be making a much-anticipated U.S. tour in the coming days.

An iconoclast like Thelonious Monk once famously said "You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you're doing. Even if it does take them 15 or 20 years." In the case of Idris Ackamoor, that took more like 35 years. But the amount of attention that his music has garnered in the past decade is a well deserved pay-back to a musician that has cultivated his own vision pursuing —for five decades —a personal path, fueled by a fascination for his African roots, a profound respect for Duke Ellington, Cecil Taylor and Sun Ra, as well as an admiration for the capacity of musicians like Fela Kuti and Bob Marley to balance the spiritual and the artistic with the social and political dimensions of music. All of that infused with a contagious theatrical ability that makes his performances memorable.

Happy listening!


  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "Tinoge" from An Angel Fell (Strut) 0:00
  • Host Talks 6:55
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 10:50
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "Rhapsody in Berlin" from We Be All Africans (Strut) 13:04
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "Papyrus" from An Angel Fell (Strut) 19:22
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 26:59
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "An Angel Fell" from An Angel Fell (Strut) 27:28
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 36:01
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "Soliloquy for Michael Brown" from An Angel Fell (Strut) 37:49
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 47:05
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "Warrior Dance" from An Angel Fell (Strut) 47:30
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 57:06
  • Idris Ackamoor Ensemble "New Born Dance" from Centurian (Cultural Odyssey) 1:00:06
  • Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids "Epiphany" from We Be All Africans (Strut) 1:02:32
  • Host Talks 1:09:45
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 1:12:01
  • The Pyramids "Lalibela" from Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971 -2004 (EM) 1:14:10
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 1:20:07
  • Idris Ackamoor and Margaux Simmonds with King's Drummers Of Tamale, Ghana "Africa" from Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971 -2004 (EM) 1:22:27
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 1:25:55
  • The Pyramids "Mohgo Naba" from Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971 -2004 (EM) 1:27:29
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 1:35:57
  • The Pyramids "Aomawa" from Birth/Speed/Merging (Disko B) 1:37:10
  • Host Talks 1:42:39
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 1:44:09
  • Idris Ackamoor Ensemble "Topanga" from Portrait (Cultural Odyssey) 1:45:48
  • Host Talks 1:51:48
  • Idris Ackamoor Ensemble feat Chico Freeman "Ode to the Orishas" from Homage to Cuba (Cultural Odyssey) 1:52:17
  • Host Talks 2:00:31
  • Interview with Idris Ackamoor 2:03:35
  • Idris Ackamoor Ensemble "Libation Song" from Centurian (Cultural Odyssey) 2:04:16

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