Founded by Village Voice icon Greg Tate & co-led with Dayton Ohio monster bassist Jared Michael Nickerson since 1999, Burnt Sugar the Arkestra Chamber is a sprawling band of musicians whose prodigious personnel allows them to freely juggle a wide swath of the experimental soul-jazz-hip hop spectrum. 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 American diasparan music in the 21st century. The intent of the Arkestra Chamber, through the deployment of Butch Morris’s conduction system, is to make every performance a fresh interpretation of its constituent parts. Rather than limit ourselves to the straight jackets that the commercial recording industry uses to market contemporary Black Music, Burnt Sugar freely moves amongst many styles, eras and genres to devise its own exciting hybrids. These hybrids are based on a solid foundation of various musical traditions and the use of cutting-edge music technology. In this sense the group mission honors its deepest inspirations, the first post-modernists of American music – Duke Ellington, Sun Ra, Parliament Funkadelic and The Art Ensemble of Chicago. This very accomplished crew has playing credits that range from Cecil Taylor, Charlie Musselwhite, Melvin Van Peebles, Lady Keir, Toshi Reagon, Vernon Reid, Arto Lindsey, DJ Logic, John Paul Bourelly, Gary Lucas, TV On The Radio, Tamar Kali, Mark Ribot, Phish, William Parker, Lizz Wright, The Holmes Brothers, Wadada Leo Smith, The The, David Murray, Thurston Moore, and Joseph Bowie to let you know. Arkestra Conductor Greg Tate says, “Burnt Sugar got the nerve to claim Sly Stone, Morton Feldman, Billie Holiday, Jimi Hendrix and Jean Luc Ponty as progenitors. Our player-ranks include known Irish fiddlers, AACM refugees, Afro-punk rejects, unrepentant beboppers, feminist rappers, jitterbugging doowoppers, frankly loud funk-a-teers and rodeo stars of the digital divide.” All this above is from their website, I call them the daily best unplanned thanG that could happen then, and family.
I had the opportunity to catch up with my man Mr. Jared Michael Nickerson to take a deep dive into the brand new four-song suite titled “Angels Over Oakanda”, which is the group’s first new studio-generated album of original material since 2017’s “All You Zombies Dig The Luminosity”. The album is being released on CD and as a digital download by Avant Groidd Musica September 23, 2021 with a 12” vinyl release to follow in 2022. J & I get into the birth and beGinning life of each track as the entity they are, we talk what could have been, what it is and what is still gonna be for the Arkestra as we all move in a new world way. Truthfully, there are few words I can give you to add to our chat, the experience that is the Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber and mostly, the creative beings that comprised the sonic adventures created by beings clearly meant to get after it, as one. Live is the right way to get this kinda Sugar, until then, let this new music into you, and experience.