- Real Gone Music, Black Jazz Records
The only “group” on the Black Jazz roster, The Awakening today should be heralded as one of the great bands in early ‘70s jazz. That they’re not is the result of the Black Jazz label’s distribution woes; witness the fact that original copies of both of their records for the imprint command prices in the hundreds of dollars if you can find them at all.
Mirage is their second (1973) album, the last one they made together; it boasts the same Chicago-based, AACM-centric line-up as the first, with the notable addition of bassist Rufus Reid on a couple of tracks. Spiritual jazz, free jazz, soul jazz, fusion jazz, you name it—The Awakening take all those threads common to early ‘70s African-American music and, like any great ensemble, weave them into a beautiful sonic garment that’s greater than the sum of its parts. The Mirage is a bit less political/pan-African than Hear, Sense and Feel, its predecessor, which definitely owed some of its feel to the band’s Art Ensemble of Chicago/AACM roots; this record is a little more abstract, a little more varied in its moods and textural coloring, yet no less powerful and transporting.