Legendary producer, DJ and beat-digger Amir Abdullah (one half of duo Kon & Amir) has launched 180 Proof Records in collaboration with the cult Strata Records Inc. to reissue the seriously sought-after funk, soul and jazz from one of Detroit’s most influential and enigmatic labels.
Founded by trumpeter Charles Moore and pianist Kenny Cox, Strata Inc. had a short but potent affect on the musical culture of the Motor City. Combining the deep fusion of late Miles Davis electronica with a heavy funk and soul sensibility leftover from the Motown era, the label cut a series of hugely impressive records between 1973-5, while being among the first wave of Black American labels to retain financial and artistic independence.
Having licensed the rights to Strata’s vault of rare and unreleased material Amir hopes that the project will put an important era in the history of Black American music into context. As Amir says, 180 Proof will “use the sound of the past to weave new stories in Soul, Jazz, and Funk”, drawing on the label’s 30 unreleased master tapes to “create proper remixes, restorations and covers from the catalog”.
In contrast to what he sees as the culture of reissuing music “in a void”, the Boston-born New Yorker hopes to curate the collection via his own 180 Proof imprint. Following the release of Kenny Cox’s previously unheard 1975 LP Clap Clap! The Joyful Noise earlier this year, Amir has announced that the next instalment will be the late saxophonist Larry Nozero’s fathoms-deep jazz LP Time, featuring the inimitable pianist Dennis Tini.
There are a whole host of snippets to whet your appetite with on Amir’s Soundcloud page.
Image courtesy of 180 Proof.