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Magic Carpet – Broken Compass


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The sun shines somewhere all the time. Humanity bathes in nourishing light, children play, people dance, work, grow, bathe, learn. As long as the rays of the sun, longer even, the sounds of music emanate from our bodies. Tools amplify our breath, resonate from hits, twang and toll. People come together, travel long distance, just to make music together. Magic Carpet came together for this purpose years ago, some twenty summers and falls. At the core, six guys from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds, who set out to perform various traditions, bring old sounds into now, music enabling rapid travel. Maybe as an educational project? Perhaps, but also a weekly gig at an Ethiopian restaurant in Chicago. Over time they came to know each other musically, lock in, and their sounds flowed joyously through house parties, block parties, street festivals.

One long weekend about seven years ago, Magic Carpet all had some time together in Chicago’s Bel Air Sound Studio, and recorded the grooviest, loveliest, soulfullest, chillest set of tunes in the world. The rhythm section of Parrish Hicks (bass), Makaya McCraven (kit), and Ryan Mayer (percussion) unfolds hypnotic tales while Fred Jackson’s soprano sax dances, Timuel Bey’s guitar trances and Teddy Aklilu’s keys fill the zone. The tunes wear different masks, from straight-up funk (“Aum U Wah”) through smooth jazz-inflected bliss (“Flow”), to the West African grunge of “Touareg Fever” and “Rumba Gnawa”. Broken Compass is Magic Carpet’s first widely-distributed recording, and it documents the band at the peak of their first stage, before Parrish Hicks’s transition in 2017. Since then, the group has continued to evolve, more recently adding vocalist and dancer Tracy to their lineup. Those in Chicago who know, know, and now you know too. Magic Carpet’s light shines. Broken Compass will be available in vinyl or digital format from FPE Records August 11, 2023.


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LP, digital