Title: 20th Anniversary Mixtapes: Groiddest Schizznits Vol. 1-3
Artist: Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber
Label: TruGroid/Dist. CD Baby
Formats: 3 CDs, Digital
Release date: 2019
This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the acclaimed and renowned experimental soul-jazz-hip hop ensemble, Burnt Sugar The Arkestra Chamber. Founded in 1999 by Village Voice critic, black music scholar and guitarist Greg Tate and co-leader/bassist Jared Michael Nickerson, Burnt Sugar was, and is, a collective of musicians creating music that traverses black music styles, genres, and eras. According to Tate and Nickerson, “Burnt Sugar was originally conceived as a forum for the New York area improvisational musician to compose, record and perform material which reflects the breadth and depth of African diasporan music in the 21st century.” To commemorate their illustrious career, Burnt Sugar recently released their three volume album compilation, 20th Anniversary Mixtapes: Groiddest Schizznits.
Influenced by Butch Morris’s conduction system, the ensemble’s objective has always been to “make every performance a fresh interpretation of its constituent parts.” These fresh interpretations lead to vibrant, energetic, and spirited compositional hybrids that draw on black music artists such as Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, Parliament Funkadelic and The Art Ensemble of Chicago, as well as the whole gamut of African American music. Since Tate and Nickerson were founding members of the Black Rock Coalition, you can also expect some sizeable servings of psychedelia, while Nickerson’s Dayton, Ohio roots are steeped in funk.
This compilation, expertly mixed by Greg Tate in the same manner he stylishly crafts his prose, includes tracks such as “The Crepescularium (At Midnight),” “Yung Black & Vague,” “4.29.92 (For Rodney King/Justice Dilla-X On The Flex),” “Held in Faith,” “Perfect Women (Enjoy Being Visible),” “God is Black” (ft. Rene Akan & Justice Dilla-X) “Spartacus Free the Slaves!” (ft. Capt. Kirk Douglas & Quasim Naqvi), “Young Frankenstank” (ft. Lisala & Vernon Reid), “A Blood Sample From Erroll Garner” (ft. Vijay Iyer), and many others. The subtitle says all that needs to be said—20th Anniversary Mixtapes: Groiddest Schizznits is your ultra Black summer soundtrack.
Reviewed by Jamaal Baptiste
Editor’s Note: albums previously featured in Black Grooves include:
2014: The Darknuss by Rebellum (Burnt Sugar’s “avant funk & roll splinter cell”)
2012: Divine Pocket Bouncers’ self-titled debut (Nickerson’s side project)
2011: Burnt Sugar: All Ya Needs That Negrocity
2009: Burnt Sugar: Making Love to the Dark Ages
2006: Burnt Sugar: More Than Posthuman: Rise of the Mojosexual Cotillion