Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
‘We Be All Africans’ is a message of survival. A message of renewal. A message that we are all brothers and sisters. We are all one family, the human family and we need one another in order to survive on this planet that we all share.’ – Idris Ackamoor
Alto saxophonist Ackamoor had originally left his hometown of Chicago to study music at Antioch College, Yellow Springs, Ohio, where his teachers numbered legendary pianist Cecil Taylor. Via the Antioch Abroad Program, Ackamoor landed a year’s study overseas in 1972/73, which allowed him, and two Antioch students, to travel to Europe and Africa where he co – founded THE PYRAMIDS. The trip took in a musical spiritual journey up into Northern Ghana, the land of the Fra Fra of Bolgatanga and the Islam-influenced Dagomba in Tamale, where Ackamoor taped some field recordings. “We played with the King’s musicians in 2 Tamale. I also undertook a healing ceremony in the bush of Bolgatanga with a Fra Fra traditional healer (a Juju Man).”
Back in Yellow Springs, THE PYRAMIDS brought together all of the knowledge from their journey and released 2 independently produced albums including “Lalibela” (1973), and “King of Kings” (1974). After graduating, Idris and the band headed to Oakland, California and quickly met other musicians in the thriving San Francisco Bay Area music scene where they recorded their third album, “Birth / Speed / Merging”. The Pyramids played their last concert at the 1977 UC Berkeley Jazz Festival alongside Al Jarreau. Due to different paths it was time for the individual members to move on.
Out of the blue, The Pyramids announced their return in 2012. “Around 2006 there was an increased interest in the 1970s music the band recorded with many requests from record labels to re-issue the early albums,” Ackamoor explains. “The Pyramids’ three LPs were showing up on eBay for high prices.” Chicago label Ikef reissued the three 1970s albums on vinyl. At the same time ‘EM’ Records in Japan released ‘The Music of Idris Ackamoor 1971-2004’. The Berlin agency, Planet Rock, began organizing European dates for the band and The Pyramids were fully back in business. The momentum has continued for the group.