Sonic Liberation Front: SLF Meets Sunny Murray

Sonic Liberation Front Meets Sunny Murray

  1. Init
  2. Knowledge of the Sun
  3. Meaningless Kisses
  4. Casa de Grupo Download Casa de Grupo
  5. Ochun Libre
  6. Some Other Times
  7. Nomingo
  8. Under the Wave of Kanagawa

Sunny Murray: drums
Kevin Diehl: drums, percussion, bata
Chuck Joseph: bata
Matt Engle: bass
Terry Lawson: tenor saxophone
Okomfo Adwoa Tachempong: bass
Shawn Hennessy: bata
Todd Margasak: cornet
Nichola Rivera: bata
Joey Toledo: bata, percussion
Adam Jenkins: alto saxophone
Kimbal Brown: trumpet
Fahir Kendall: bass


If you believe in chance, Sunny Murray and Sonic Liberation Front’s Kevin Diehl met by chance. Diehl’s phone number was on digit different than Khan Jamal’s. Murray’s mis-dialing of the legendary vibraphonist led to a 25-year-plus friendship between the two drummers.

In many ways it was “mentorship by osmosis” relationship. There were a few formal drum lessons, but by and large, it was an osmotic learning that not only involved Murray’s unique approach to textural drumming, but also composition and concept. The period covers not only Diehl’s time as a young musician in New York during the ’80s loft era, but also runs concurrent with Diehl’s exposure to the folkloric Afro-Cuban music, the foundation for the future of Sonic Liberation Front.

Fast forward to the late 1990s when Diehl formed Sonic Liberation Front with Chuck Joseph, one of the true conservators of the rich Afro-Cuban Lukumi culture, which is at the root of all music. The band didn’t just connect the dots between avant-garde jazz and Lukumi roots, Sonic Liberation Front is on the only units today connecting folkloric music to jazz the way that Albert Ayler and Sunny Murray did in the 1960s.

After the release of SLF’s debut album, Water and Stone, Sunny Murray engages the band for a series of collaborative concerts, including a 2002 appearance at the Vision Festival. The circulation of recordings from these concerts among fans enticed Murray and SLF to head into the studio together for the first time in 2008. Sonic Liberation Front Meets Sunny Murray features those studio recordings plus bonus recordings of the Murray’s appearance with SLF in Philadelphia in 2002.

“I had an image in my mind as to how things would play out,” says Diehl. “But as is normal with Sunny Murray, it ends up being something else. I envisioned Murray playing freely over the folkloric bata rhythms. But I found myself playing freely over the bata rhythms, and Murray tapping into something more fundamental. Something which actually permeates his approach to his music — his Native American heritage. Murray plays rhythmically with the bata. He does so using a Native American approach to pulse. It then tied in what I heard with early Albert Ayler recordings where Murray’s vocal chanting is as much as part of the experience as the drumming.”

It is not only the folk-melody content where parallels are drawn, but also in the authenticity of feel, in the life-force that is present in both ancient and to the future forms.

Order Sonic Liberation Front Meets Sunny Murray


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