A tribute to the masters of “Avant-Garde / Free Jazz”
“Outside Da’ Edge” is a tribute album like no other – with 15 riveting cuts played by one of the founding architects of the Bay Area’s “West Coast Free Jazz” sound.
Can you imagine what it might have been like for Stravinsky to join with Albert Ayler, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, and Sun Ra? If they were still alive, what kind of musical and artistic statements would they make with digital and space age technology? How has this provocative form of Jazz evolved under today's masters – Ornette Coleman, Archie Shepp, Cecil Taylor, Pharoah Sanders, Babatunde Lea and others?
Jazz aficionados, search no longer! Eddie Edwards delivers that hardcore, amplisonic, soulfully provocative Avant-Garde experience right here on his seminal CD release, “Outside Da’ Edge.” With an amazing collection of musical compositions, Edwards sculpts riveting tracks, combining a cutting-edge rhythm section, acoustic & digital electronic saxophones, trombone, trumpet, bass clarinet, and keyboards – along with orchestral & digital electronics – that will free your mind from the constriction of traditional Western music and take you on an exhilarating, refreshing musical rollercoaster ride.
“Outside Da’ Edge” will transport you back in time to the stage of Keystone Korner, San Francisco . . . the UC Berkeley Jazz Festival . . . a private New York jam session at the home of Walter Davis, Jr. . . . the De Young Museum and The Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco . . . Mapenzi’s in Berkeley . . . the Sea Shell in Richmond, CA (with Smiley Winters & Bob Bray) . . . to a hundred different venues up and down the Coast . . . to gigs with Norton Wisdom, Zam Johnson, Dr. Rob “the Blob” Miller . . . to the late master drummer Billy Higgins . . . to Harlem’s own master bassist Barry Nelson – a few of the places where, and people with whom, Eddie Edwards has performed.
When you close your eyes and listen, you may just touch the swirling sounds of “Ayler,” while on a “Trane” that takes you a zillion “Miles” out as “Sun Ra” warms you with “Zappa” rays – Stravinsky style - because this CD will take you “Outside Da’ Edge.” Edwards' striking Drum 'n' Bass lines are the foundation of a musical Funk-bridge that transports the 21st Century seeker into the zone -- to experience the ecstasy of AVANT-GARDE / FREE JAZZ.
So, listen to some of our track samplings, then order your CD - - and "Get ready! Get ready!! Get ready!!!"(*) to take your trip – “OUTSIDE DA' EDGE” . . .
[(*) "Bishop T.D. Jakes." Quote.]
Liner notes by: Professor John L. Mc Donald
W. E. B. Du Bois, one of the world’s foremost scholar’s on the status of Black people worldwide, published a book in 1903 entitled the Souls of Black Folk. It is one of the most important books ever published pertaining to the psycho-sociological analysis of Black people in America. Dr. Du Bois, in his book, was able to capture the essence of the soul of Black people.
Now comes an innovative approach on the Souls of Black Folk by a man who has lived that life that Dr. Du Bois discussed in his book through the creative forces of music. Brother Eddie Edward is a man with a musical vision that transforms the prose and poetry of Black life into sounds that echoes the rhythms of the traditional African drum beats; that captures the painful laments of a stolen people coming to the “land of liberty”; that, reflects Amiri Baraka’s insightful statement in Blues People regarding how the African captive became the African American.
Brother Edwards’ musical background and life experiences have prepared him for this musical journey so evidently displayed in his new cd “Outside Da’ Edge.” Never has there been a musical compilation that synthesizes the totality of the modern Black experience into an art form that captures that which ‘was, is, and continues to be.’ Brother Edwards’ music is the philosophy of John S. Mbiti; his music is the gospel of Blues, Jazz, Soul and that which is to come.
I humbly invite you, the listening public, to do as I did – get your hands on this cd, sit down and let Brother Edwards take you on a wondrous musical journey – “Outside Da’ Edge.”
by: Professor John L. Mc Donald
Pastor Eddie Edwards is a multi-instrumentalist / composer / playwright / producer and sound engineer who has served as a musical bridge between conventional jazz, punk rock, free jazz, gospel, progressive “art” music and alternative sound. Edwards attended the prestigious California College of Arts in the San Francisco Bay Area as an up-and-coming sculptor, studying under Peter and Peggy Voulkos. He later discovered his life-long passion and pursuit as a “cutting-edge sound sculptor and musicologist.”
In the recording studio, he has successfully navigated full-circle, from artist, to master engineer, to producer – with a remarkable prophetic ability to “hear” the distant waves of the next “new sound,” identify emerging artists, and powerfully present undiscovered talent. He has served as an assistant and master engineer on many projects and recording venues, such as Fantasy Records, the Japan America Theatre, FM Records, and Pulpit Recording Studios.
A virtuoso performer in his own right, Edwards has dazzled audiences and critics with his vanguard sound, instrumental versatility, extensive music knowledge, and his ability to masterfully play over 40 instruments. Twenty-five years ago Eddie, (famed percussionist) Zam, and the alternative band “Panic,” thrashed out and pioneered an experimental underground sound, a free-style form of “outside” jazz/punk/rock that set the foundation for what is now referred to as “drum-N-bass” by today’s teen and young adult cultures.
Many influences have converged in the making of Eddie Edwards. As a child, he loved to create and reproduce Foley-type sound effects. He dreamed of conducting an orchestra (like Mitch Miller) and becoming a brain surgeon (now, he justs cuts and pastes, while messing musically with your head). Eddie was the product of parents and grandparents who were involved in mechanical designing, arts and crafts, entertainment, the Civil Rights Movement and politics. Other important influences in his life were: his grandfather, legendary Jazz cornetist Amos Mordechai White; his travels around the world in the U.S. Army (missing Vietnam by 1 month); his involvement in the formation of the "art band," Sauna; "dropping out" as a 'Hippie of the Late 60's,' living on the land at Wheeler's Ranch, serving as President of the Ahimsa Church, where he got his name "Snakepit Eddie." Wheeler's Ranch and the Free Land Movement were founded on a revolutionary concept of harmonious, communal living -- that was crushed by the U.S. Government (complete with bulldozers, sherriffs and the Feds) in 1972.
After 1972, Eddie returned to the Bay Area, as an Avant-garde Jazz/"Art Music" multi-instrumentalist. During that time, he met poet/percussionist/saxophonist John Turpin and acclaimed percussionist Babatunde Lea, who took him to his first jam session with jazz trumpeter Chet Baker, who inspired him "never to quit and to remain true to the spirit of his unique art form."
As alluded to earlier, Eddie had discovered that his music produced the same experiential feelings as his art, so he switched mediums, from (Modern Art) sculpting with metal, plastics and textiles to sculpting with Sound. In developing his style of sound sculpting, he naturally began to experiment with the media mixing of ‘acoustic and electronic technologies.’ He began adapting electronic sound manipulators to create his own live multi-media performance environment, where he used pads, pedals, an Echoplex, a Steiner Parker synthesizer, and the 360 Degree Pitch-to-Voltage Converter, a forerunner to the midi-interface. With this ingenious, pioneering setup, he used brass and reed instruments to play and trigger remote synthesizers and drum machines. Eddie literally became a space-age "one man band." It would be years later before commercial systems of a similar nature would become available to the entertainment market.
Through the experimental development of his art performance system, Eddie met J.D. Sharp of "Bananas At Large" and Steve Hart of "Fantasy Records," who couldn't believe that he had created and implemented this technologically advanced system (that actually worked without blowing up).
Eddie went on to put together various "Snakepit Bands" (The White Boys, SKITZ, Inner Force, and The Astral Orchestra, The Big Fun Disco Band) that played many venues, including:
.. Keystone Korner, San Francisco
.. Keystone, the home of Tower of Power, Berkeley
.. Fab Mab / Mabuhay Gardens, San Francisco
.. Berkeley Square, Berkeley
.. Sahara, Las Vegas
.. Sweet Water Inn, Mill Valley
.. Blue Dolphin, San Francisco
.. Mapenzi, Berkeley
.. Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco
.. De Young Museum, San Francisco
.. Berkeley Museum of Modern Art
.. 1976 U.C. Berkeley Jazz Festival, opening for Betty Carter, McCoy Tyner and Ramsey Lewis
.. World's Fair, Spokane, Washington
.. Colleges & Universities: Santa Clara University, College of the Redwoods, Humboldt College, Laney College, Merritt College, Cal State Hayward, San Francisco State
He also worked with the San Francisco All Stars, the Concert Throb Orchestra, and Jazz Mouth. During this time, he began presenting a series "The History of Music" to the elementary and middle school children of the East Bay, featuring "The Snakepit Band" with dancer, Ricardo Mitchel.
In 1976/77 Eddie wrote the "L-5 Space Opera," which unveiled the first multi-media use of holograms and lasers light shows, combined with theatrical storytelling, dance, and an 11-piece band. During this time, Eddie met Emmy-award-winning videographer Paul Rhoades, who became his lifelong best friend. During this time, they produced commercials, with Eddie creating the soundtracks. Paul became the videographer for several of the Snakepit bands.
In 1980, he moved to Los Angeles (with the encouragement of David Rubinson, Herbie Hancock's manager) to pursue a recording career. While in L.A., he worked with artists in the emerging Punk/New Wave genres, such as The Party Boys, Tequila Mockingbird, Mike B. The Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Fibonacci's and others who played at Al's Bar and Helen's Place, including the Girls of Zatar, and the Chinese Dog Girls. During this time, Eddie formed his own Avant-garde Jazz Art Band, "Panic" with drummer extraordinaire Zam Johnson and world-famous painter, artist, illustrator Norton Wisdom.
Traversing from Fusion, to Punk, to New Wave -- while infusing it all with improvisational, multi-tonal jazz, he includes Rap into his arsenal. He had a vision of multi-cultural Rap long before it came of age with his seminal "Break Your Face," an English-Spanish, pop-locking, in-your-face track. Old-time friend Tom Vickers told him, "rap is a fad, it's never going to make it..." which taught him the lesson: "never listen to the experts." :-) Love you, Tom.
In the Mid-80's, the late Peter Ivers introduced Eddie to Dr. Rob "the Blob" Miller of Motown, with whom he collaborated and got a record deal at FM Records. They went on to produce the album project, "Sock It." In 1985, Rob took Eddie in as Assistant Sound Engineer at the Japan America Theatre, where the Grand Kabuki inducted "Hebinosu Eddie" as an honorary member.
In 1986, Eddie composed several songs for "Jukebox," a full-length drama written, composed and produced by Tarabu Betserai, starring Danny Glover, Attallah Shabazz (daughter of the Late Malcom X) and Molly Holm.
My, how the Music Business can chew you up and spit you out! After many 'breaks' that left him broken, Eddie became disillusioned and disheartened, eventually going underground. His darkest hours of drug addiction and experimental living took him to the brink of "the edge..."
Strung out on speed and heroin, living in an underground cave at Angel's Gate Arts Community, an old, converted prison in San Pedro, California, Eddie produced a weekly Jazz series. While on a trip to see his first grandson, Elon, in Hawthorne, CA -- his kids saw a dying, disillusioned father. They asked him to spend the night; he ended staying 7 days (jonesin' intensely and smoking three packs of Marlboros a day). This culminated in Eddie going to church with his daughter, Monica out of feelings of loving obligation. As he heard the message of the "Battle of Jericho" and how 'the walls came down' after seven days, he saw that his life was at a crossroads and how that Sunday was his 'seventh day' with no drugs. Christ opened his eyes and caused him to see the parallel, and when the invitation for salvation was extended, Eddie said, "Yes!" and accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior. His walls of drug addiction, pornography, cigarettes -- everything -- came down in an instant. On 6/7/87, he was "born again."
He didn't play publicly for almost 10 years. In 1993 he married his wife, Janice. While working at UCLA as a nurse tech and an on-call chaplain, the faint light of Jazz was kept alive by tutoring one lone jazz saxophone student, Daryl Stiger. God works in mysterious ways.
In 1996, Dr. Leonard Goldstein, godfather of Eddie's youngest two daughters, told Eddie that he had a famous 'master drummer' under his care. It was Eddie's old friend from the San Francisco days, drummer extraordinaire, the late Master Billy Higgins. This reunion marked the beginning of Eddie's return to the "Outside world of Jazz." Spiritually, Billy and Eddie could 'go there.' They played together in Billy's bedroom, in his living room -- and then at a benefit concert at UCLA, featuring Billy Higgins, Juno Lewis, Eddie Edwards and Dr. Rob "the Blob" Miller. It was the musical resurrection of Eddie, as if he had been risen from the dead.
At this point in his life, he looks back at so many miracles, so many wonderful experiences and he marvels. With Janice, his wife of 13 years; 7 children ranging from 10 to 45 years old; 10 grandchildren (soon to be 13, with three new adopted granddaughters from Ethopia) -- life is full and wonderful.
Over the last 10 years, Paul Rhoades, Rev. Dr. George A. Todd, Jr., Master Barry Nelson, Saxophonist Tim Burleson, Apostle Clyde River, Pastor Luida Grady Johnson and his wife Janice, a vocalist extraordinaire, have been his artistic compadres, as well as his most intimate friends and advisors.
Before the late Miles Davis died, he had been working with Marcus Miller to bridge Hip-Hop and Jazz, creating the new genre of Doo Bop; and in the same vein Eddie works to incorporate many genres, not to create fusion, but to bring people together from across the globe -- different cultures, ages and ethnicities -- by honoring their unique "sounds" in his music and then sharing it with the rest of the world.
There is a radical, extreme sound that can be heard in every type of cutting-edge music, from Stravinsky's "The Rite of Spring," to John Coltrane's "Father, Son and the Holy Ghost," to X Mars X, to Prince's "Rainbow Children," to MP3-downloading-Acid-GarageBand-FruityLoop-Reason-BabyBeatMasters. The "sound" can be heard from Cowboy Troy to Tony Bennett to "Da' Truth."
It is our prayer that as you experience the "sound" that Eddie plays and produces, that you would encounter the God that breathed all sound into the Universe, the Lord Jesus Christ.
All of this would be incomplete without mentioning Eddie's children, Jeanine, Monica, Jade, Sativa, Loren, Celestra and Angelica. "My love and thoughts for you have flowed through every space... from between every letter … of every word… of every line… of every page… of every song. Through all the many changes that we've gone through, love still conquers all. My desire to bless each of you propells me to work like a madman to leave you an enduring legacy."
I "love you madly . . ." (**)
Eddie Edwards (formerly known as Snakepit)
[** "Duke Ellington." quote.]