When Satoshi Morita introduced Muslimgauze to Suns of Arqa he had a good hunch the two musicians would form a connection. Bryn Jones (Muslimgauze) and Michael Wadada (Suns of Arqa) were already deeply immersed in the kinds of rhythmic music made far from England’s rainy shores. Jones’ fascination with the cause of Palestine found an outlet through his prolific musical output, and Wadada’s interest in Jamaican reggae and Eastern mysticism was likewise reflected in his own recordings. But they moved in different circles and had never crossed paths, despite living relatively close to one another. Bryn Jones in particular was well known for his reclusiveness and lack of curiosity about other music (and musicians), so it’s no surprise that it took a Japanese label owner to bring them together. Morita knew both men individually, liked their music enough to release it on his label Gift, and intuitively saw the potential in a collaboration between the two. He arranged an introduction in 1996, and like a spark landing on dry tinder; a musical firestorm blew up that summer. Several collaborations-by-mail were produced in the two-and-a-half years preceding Jones’ sudden and unexpected death in January 1999. The final sessions are presented today on this CD.
Wadada’s Caribbean beats pulse and flow alongside Jones’ staccato gunshot rhythms in a true blending of the two artists’ music. While it’s true that Bryn Jones is gone, we take comfort knowing that Muslimgauze lives on in the creative expression of the multitude of musicians whose lives he touched. For Wadada, this album will stand as a lasting tribute to a friend and creative collaborator.