Amina Baraka and The Red Microphone

Amina Baraka and The Red Microphone

Amina Baraka speaks truth and spits fire when she reads her poetry. She is a warm and friendly person, but keeps a metal shovel by her front door in case of trespassers. She is a devoted member of the Communist Party USA. She is vast, she contains multitudes. After decades in the shadow of her late husband, poet and playwright Amiri Baraka, Amina is having a career renaissance in the company of The Red Microphone, four musicians who are fellow fighters in the struggle for equality for all. Not that she hasn't been getting her poetry published all those years, but as we have so often seen, poets who add music to the mix can transcend category boundaries and reach more listeners. And this is some powerful music, inside/outside jazz, created in the moment but occasionally building on a composition by group member Rocco John Iacovone, the cadences of Baraka's words intertwining with the rhythms of the music to become more than the sum of its parts.


Amina Baraka: words, lead vocals

with The Red Microphone:

Ras Moshe Burnett: tenor saxophone, flute, percussion

Rocco John Iacovone: curved soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, piano

John Pietaro: musical direction, drums, percussion

Laurie Towers: bass guitar

'amen chorus' on "Talking Drum": Ras, Rocco, John

Track Listing:

1. Time Step                                                       8:41

2. The Spirit of Billy Bang                                   3:06

3. The Things I Love                                           7:36

4. Jayne Cortez                                                   8:25

5. Afro American Child                                      19:33

6. For Margaret Walker Alexander                      6:55

7. Real Dreams                                                   4:08

8. Talking Drum                                                  5:45

9. The Fascist                                                     7:32


All words by Amina Baraka. All music collectively improvised by The Red Microphone except:

music under "Timestep": "Travelin' Thru" by Rocco John Iacovone, with quote of "L'Internationale" by Pierre Degeyter

music under "The Spirit of Billy Bang": by Laurie Towers

music under "The Things I Love": "Blue Nights" by Rocco John Iacovone

music under "Talking Drum": by John Pietaro

Press Quotes re: Amina Baraka & The Red Microphone:

“The approach is wonderful – and the record really feels like some lost underground relic of the 70s, the sort that the ESP label might have issued back in the day.” – Dusty Groove

“Backed by a tight, intuitive ensemble of instrumentalists (known as the Red Microphone), Baraka delivers an ambitious full-length project that feels like a love letter to the struggles, poetry, politics, and culture of Black people. … an album that beautifully mines the deep well of memory while playing tribute to the beauty of our shared cultural ancestry.” – John Morrison, Jazz Right Now

“The two saxophones…sound the battle charge along with the roar of the electric bass to create the provocative atmosphere of “Time Step” and “The Fascist,” the bookends of this album.” – Raul Da Gama

Digital download Choice of MP3 or WAV
Compact Disk Digipak with band photos
  • Product Code: ESP5021
  • Availability: In Stock
  • CD $12.98
  • WAV Download $8.99
  • MP3 Download $8.99

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