The Lab

The Lab is a nonprofit experimental art and performance space located in the Mission District of San Francisco.

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Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids: Friday 6/1 and Saturday 6/2


8:00pm Doors / 8:30pm Performance
$20 Guests / $12 for Members
FRIDAY general admission tickets
SATURDAY general admission tickets
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We bring The Lab’s artists-in-residence Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids for two-nights to perform their powerful intergalactic jazz funk, afro-beat grooves, and hypnotic licks. Their new album "An Angel Fell" is a concept album for the 21st Century with each track building on the other and unified by a common narrative.

“This followup is nothing less than extraordinary...pure astral tripping.” – MOJO
           
The Pyramids was founded in 1972. Alto saxophonist Ackamoor had originally left his hometown of Chicago to study music at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, where his teachers numbered legendary pianist Cecil Taylor. Via the Antioch Abroad Program, Ackamoor landed a year’s study overseas in 1972, which allowed him, and two Antioch students, to travel to Europe and Africa where he co – founded The Pyramids. The trip took in a musical spiritual journey up into Northern Ghana, the land of the Fra Fra of Bolgatanga and the Islam-influenced Dagomba in Tamale, where Ackamoor taped some field recordings. “We played with the King’s musicians in Tamale. I also undertook a healing ceremony in the bush of Bolgatanga with a Fra Fra traditional healer (a Juju Man).”

Back in Yellow Springs, The Pyramids brought together all of the knowledge from their journey and released 2 independently produced albums including “Lalibela” (1973), and “King of Kings” (1974). After graduating, Idris and the band headed to Oakland, California and quickly met other musicians in the thriving San Francisco Bay Area music scene where they recorded their third album, “Birth / Speed / Merging” in 1976. The Pyramids played their last concert at the 1977 UC Berkeley Jazz Festival sharing the stage with vocalist Al Jarreau, and jazz legends Woody Shaw and Dexter Gordon.

“It's more like a Central African nightclub, with layered instrumental funk interjected by yelps and whistles similar to Hindewhu Pygmy music. Or downtown Manhattan or Chicago's South Side in the late '60s and early '70s, where free-improvising saxophones met electronics and rock music and Sly Stone amid the urgency of the civil rights struggle”. – NPR

The Pyramids announced their return in 2007 when Chicago label Ikef reissued the three 1970s albums on vinyl. At the same time ‘EM’ Records in Japan released ‘The Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971-2004’ and Ackamoor landed a Lifetime Achievement Award from Gilles Peterson at his Worldwide Awards in London. An Angel Fell completes a trilogy of albums since the reformation of the band including the lauded We All Be Africans and the bands critically acclaimed 2012 release Otherworldly.

“Like Fela and Sun Ra had a massive party and the whole world was invited. And everyone was blissed out and happy. All the time. Forever....” – Bleep.com

Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids feature the bandleader on alto/tenor saxophones, percussions, keyboard, and vocals, Sandy Poindexter violins and vocals, Skyler Stover acoustic and electric bass, vocals, and percussions, Silvestre Martinez drums, and percussions, David Molina guitar, percussions and vocals, and Bradie Speller congas and percussions. The band most recently returned from a summer/fall tour throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Japan performing at a variety of venues including the American Center, Paris, Field Day Festival, London, Festival Theater der Welt, Hamburg, Germany, Novara Jazz Festival, Italy, Frue Festival, Japan, Dekmantel Festival, Amsterdam, Wassermusik Festival, Berlin, and many other locations.

Idris Ackamoor (born Bruce Baker circa 1950, hometown Chicago) is a multi-instrumentalist (saxophone), composer, actor, tap dancer, director, and producer. He is the Founder and Executive/Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco performance company, Cultural Odyssey.

Earlier Event: May 19
Kevin Drumm / Cameron Shafii