African Roots Of Jazz
Before returning to settle in the Bay Area of California, jazz drummer Eccleston ‘Baba Wain’ Wainwright had travelled throughout the US, touring as a drummer with a host of jazz combos including those of McCoy Tyner, Pharaoh Sanders and Eddie Palmieri. It was the desire to help others through his love of music that took Wainwright off the road, and in 1977 he was inspired to form the not-for-profit corporation African Roots of Jazz (AROJ). The organisation was set up with a mandate to educate and entertain both children and adults through music and the performing arts. Indeed, the African Roots of Jazz Performing Arts Academy is still engaging with the community to this day, where it not only teaches music and performance with an emphasis on African culture and heritage, but also reaches out into prisons, churches and hostels, where it offers support and teaches positive values such as responsibility and self-esteem to people of all ages.
The album ‘African Roots of Jazz’ was recorded by members of AROJ in 1981 and released independently on the AROJ label as a means to promote and support AROJ as a whole. As such the album didn’t pass through regular record distribution channels and remains an elusive rarity, so this reissue produced by Wainwright himself is therefore very welcome. Wainwright still teaches and performs, albeit on a limited basis due to health concerns, in Oakland, California.