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Horace Tapscott & The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | The scene at I.U.C.C.

Immanuel United Church of Christ, 85th & Holmes, Los Angeles | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

The Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra was at Immanuel United Church of Christ for nine years(1). The last concert at this location was August 30, 1981. The first time I ever attended was January 30, 1977 — my field notes say the Arkestra was 17 musicians that day. (I have a private recording from that afternoon.) The origins of the tradition of Last Sunday of the Month free community concerts goes back to the U.G.M.A. days of the 1960s. These at I.U.C.C. commenced at 4pm located in south-central Los Angeles at 85th & Holmes.


Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra with George Goldsmith on traps | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

“Pro-active” would be the word we would use today to describe Horace’s work in the 1970s. I’m not sure the term pro-active was in vogue back then. In those days the word was “self-determination”(2). In other words: Horace made things happen.


Michael Session? soprano; Ufahamu Uweizi, alto; Fundi LeJohn, Fr.horn; Herbert Callies, alto clarinet; Sabir Mateen, tenor & conducting | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Horace was a lot like Duke Ellington, in that, he celebrated Black American life. And he was devoted to Los Angeles which he pronounced Los Angle-eez, in the manner of the older generation.


Horace Tapscott | April 26, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Horace’s scene always seemed slightly subversive. Certainly, it was underground, as we used to say, and under the radar, even for the Black community. Horace was dealing in very strong statements. Inequalities to be reconciled — he seemed to have been born with a very strong social awareness, and strong commitments. He loved the history of jazz in Los Angeles and knew the entire scope and ramifications. He was politicized — the first time I ever heard the word “Reagonomics” was when Horace invoked it.


JuJeGr watches Horace Tapscott | April 28, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

It was certainly subversive in terms of the status quo and the pervasive conformity that has always kept Southern California in a vice grip.


Linda Hill | September 23, 1984 | Photo by Mark Weber | click the image to see another version…

I keep hoping Linda Hill’s notebooks will surface someday. I heard that they disappeared after her death. Linda in a lot of ways was co-leader of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. At least, during the years I was around. (Horace lists as a member of UGMAA in his autobiography.) She kept very precise, careful, notes of concerts and listed every musician who participated at every performance, rehearsal, recording session, and social gathering. A treasure of information. You’d see her sitting beside the stage with her notebook (spiral bound lined 8×10″) writing in her beautiful flowing cursive script.

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | June 28, 1981 | Horace Tapscott (leader/piano), Fundi LeJohn (Fr-h), Ufahamu Uweizi (as), Lous Spears (cello), David Bryant (b), Fritz Wise (d), Gary Bias (as), Sabir Mateen (ts), Arthur Wells (ts & fl), Herbert Callies (alto cl.), Adele Sebastian (fl), Linda Hill & Cortnee & JuGeGr (vocals), Oises Obligicion (conga), Dr James “Jimmy” Benson (ts–glasses, beard, & Berkenstock sandals), Ernie Roberts (b-cl). My field notes say that Lester Robertson was there that day but didn’t play, and that Robert Crowley (p) sat in | Photo by Mark Weber

The extraordinary drummer from Detroit was staying in Los Angeles that year — George Goldsmith — he’s on Horace’s Sextet CD from the Lighthouse in October 1979 and I believe he stayed through the summer of 1980 — he was at Horace & Cecelia’s place many times that I dropped by and we’d all sit for hours in Horace’s den listening to tape recordings of the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. I have always wondered when these tapes are going to become available. Horace had a lot of recordings of his bands. George had lost a son recently in gang activity in Detroit and had come to the coast to weather out his grief. And now he’s recently departed. Horace was legendary as a good person to be next to when the weight of the world was upon you. Horace had a lot of charisma.


George Goldsmith | July 5, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

For the longest time I always thought Sabir Mateen’s name was Sabia. He might have changed it somewhere along the line. In the days of these photographs he would make his own incense sticks and sell them on the street and at concerts. Sabir moved off to NYC  in  1989 and has made a name for himself in jazz.


Sabir Mateen | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

When Horace & Cecelia were visiting Albuquerque they spent the day here (February 15, 1998) at 725 — my wife Janet, and Roberto Miranda, and Cecelia, went shopping and Horace and I sat around the house talking (that’s Horace playing my piano in the photo on Vol.9 solo session on Nimbus West Records). He was so pleased to see my file cabinets full of P.A.P.A. photographs all kept safe — which are now housed at UCLA special collections. Horace also left an empty pack of Viceroys (cigarettes) on one of my LP shelves, which I left there as a talisman still to this day, but about 3 months after his visit I happened to turn the pack over and unsurprisingly found a roach he had saved inside the cellophane! [ Roach: the end of a marijuana joint.] Horace was in New Mexico for a few concerts — at Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque, and also in Santa Fe.

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | June 28, 1981 | Horace Tapscott (leader/piano), Fundi LeJohn (Fr-h), Ufahamu Uweizi (as), Lous Spears (cello), David Bryant (b), Fritz Wise (d), Gary Bias (as), Sabir Mateen (ts), Arthur Wells (ts & fl), Herbert Callies (alto cl.), Adele Sebastian (fl), Linda Hill & Cortnee & JuGeGr (vocals), Oises Obligicion (conga), Dr James “Jimmy” Benson (ts– glasses, beard, & Berkenstock sandals), Ernie Roberts (b-cl). My field notes say that Lester Robertson was there that day but didn’t play, and that Robert Crowley (p) sat in | Photo by Mark Weber

Horace Tapscott & his mother @ I.U.C.C. | April 28, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Horace Tapscott & his mother @ I.U.C.C. | April 28, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Horace Tapscott’s mother, Reverend Edwards, Marla Gibbs | April 28, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Michael Session? soprano; Ufahamu Uweizi, alto; Fundi LeJohn, Fr.horn; Herbert Callies, alto clarinet; Sabir Mateen, tenor & conducting | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Linda Hill, piano; David Bryant, bass; JuGeGr & children choir | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Linda Hill, piano; David Bryant, bass; JuGeGr & children choir | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Fritz Wise, drums; Gary Bias, alto sax; Ufahamu Uweizi, flute; Linda Hill, vocal | April 28, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra — Immanual United Church of Crist, Watts | April 26, 1981 | Fritz Wise, drums; Gary Bias, alto sax; Ufahamu Uweizi (sitting) alto sax; Funi LeJohn, French horn; JuJeGr, vocals | Photo by Mark Weber

Kamau Daaood (center) | 1980 | I.U.C.C. | Photo by Mark Weber

Left to Right: David Bryant, Horace, Billy Hinton, JuGeGr, Linda, Kamau, Ufahamu, Sabir, Fundi | 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Linda Hill | 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra and film crew | 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Fundi LeJohn, French horn, Herbert Callies, alto clarinet; Horace; Ufahamu, alto sax | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Aubrey Hart, flute; George Goldsmith, drums; Sabir Mateen, tenor saxophone | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

George Goldsmith | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

George Goldsmith & Billy Hinton | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | w/ drummers Billy Hinton & George Goldsmith | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Ufahamu, Fundi, and Sabir | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Fundi LeJohn, flugelhorn | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Herbert Callies | July 27, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Nate Morgan sits in with the Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | January 25, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | January 25, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra — Linda on piano; David & Al on basses; Fritz on drums; “Sabia” on soprano; and that looks like the Reverend Edgar Edwards in the pew far left, “He was a hip old man,” say Horace in autobiography, page 167 — this was his church | January 25, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Nate Morgan switches off on piano with Horace Tapscott | January 25, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

The magnificent Nate Morgan sits in on piano with P.A.P.A. w/ David Bryant & Al Hines, drums; Fritz Wise, drums |January 25, 1981 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | Horace Tapscott, piano; David Bryant & Al Hines, basses; Adele Sebastian, flute, Fritz Wise, drums; Gary Bias, alto; Ufahamu, alto, Fundi, French horn |November 30, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | November 30, 1980 | Photo by Mark Weber

Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra | June 28, 1981 | Horace Tapscott (leader/piano), Fundi LeJohn (Fr-h), Ufahamu Uweizi (as), Lous Spears (cello), David Bryant (b), Fritz Wise (d), Gary Bias (as), Sabir Mateen (ts), Arthur Wells (ts & fl), Herbert Callies (alto cl.), Adele Sebastian (fl), Linda Hill & Cortnee & JuGeGr (vocals), Oises Obligicion (conga), Dr James “Jimmy” Benson (ts– glasses, beard, & Berkenstock sandals), Ernie Roberts (b-cl). My field notes say that Lester Robertson was there that day but didn’t play, and that Robert Crowley(p) sat in | Photo by Mark Weber

Horace Tapscott | circa 1979 with grand piano @ I.U.C.C. this must have been one of the Nimbus Records recordings as Tom Albach rented a grand piano for those dates | Photo by Mark Weber

Harbor Freeway & Los Angeles smog | August 31, 1979 | view from Bonaventure Hotel | that’s the freeway you take from downtown Los Angeles to I.U.C.C. It shows the scene and area | Photo by Mark Weber

1. SONGS OF THE UNSUNG, Horace Tapscott/Steven Isoardi (Duke Univ. Press, 2001) pp 165-167
2. See Bobby Bradford interview in my essay
The Early LP’s Of The Free Jazz Scene in Los Angeles (September 2009)

Mark Weber | April 20, 2012