Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah LP
This is the 2021 repress edition of Al-Fatihah – the packaging is different from the 2020 limited edition reissue, but the vinyl is pressed from the same master. This repress is not being limited to any specific quantity.
Black Unity Trio – Al Fatihah quite possibly was the first-ever independently-released free jazz record. 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, and reissued for the first time on vinyl in 2020 in a limited edition of 2,000 numbered gatefold copies. The 2020 reissue sold out in approximately 45 days!
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.
We have spared no expense in making this reissue happen. 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.