Mako Sica / Hamid Drake - Ronda

2LP Edition of 500. Included Download Code with Mail Order Copies.

Co-Released w/ Astral Spirits on Cassette / Digital

Release Date – August 10th,2018 – Pre-Order Available –

We met Hamid through a close mutual friend.  Matt Jackowiak has a personality of mythic proportions and so does Hamid.  It’s no wonder the two found each other here in Chicago.  They met when Matt was working at a bookstore called Healing Earth and Hamid was a regular customer.   They soon shared a brotherhood in the tight-knit local Sufi community.  Matt would go see Hamid drum behind the musical giant Baba Fred Anderson at the old Velvet Lounge on 2128 1/2 S. Indiana Ave.

Fast forward to the present day, Matt was already familiar with Mako Sica’s music and suggested we combine forces with his longtime friend.  This seemed far-fetched to us given the level he’s on but why not dream big.  We arranged to meet up for dinner at this great Pakastani restaurant on Devon.  Hamid was generous enough to share stories of his travels and playing with legends like Pharaoh Sanders and Don Cherry.  Conversation flowed on and we lost track of time.  We spent over three hours there!  That night we hatched plans to collaborate and set in motion a show together in springtime at the venue Constellation.  Doug McCombs, Bill MacKay and Charles Rumback joined the bill with their new project.  The rain downpour didn’t stop most folks from attending, it was packed that night!  We played some Mako Sica tunes with Hamid adding his own touch, but the real magic happened when we started improvising – which took Mako Sica outside of our comfort zone, but was a welcome discomfort.  Growing pains!

We agreed on a date for recording at Jamdek that Summer.  It was a marathon session, with five songs done.  Not all of them made their way on this release, but “The Greatest Gift,” “The Old Book” and “The Wu Wei” did.  The seeds of what would become “The Greatest Gift” came about right after collaborating at that show.  “The Old Book” was already a staple in our set, but this version had Chaetan doing an interpretation of Brent’s Upright bass inspired part on an actual Upright Bass.  “The Wu Wei” was the last thing we taped that day.  It was written in the studio as we played it and left us hungry to try more improvisation as a quartet.

We set up another last-minute date at Electrical Audio in October, based around Hamid’s busy international touring schedule.  Only two songs were attempted and both made their way onto Ronda, sides A and B of LP1.  We had a sonic array of instruments at our disposal including grand piano, electric piano, timpanis and congas.  Chaetan, also a talented pianist, took advantage of the situation and had half the room to himself with instruments to jump back and forth from during the live taping. Krys, Hamid and I were on the other half of the room.  Hamid has his tablas seated on a piano bench next to the drum kit, Krys switching between trumpet, electric and classical guitar and I had my thumb piano as well as Hamid’s gongs to bang on.

Ronda is a title Krys came up with, which in Spanish means “round” or slang for roundabout.  It’s also a mountain town in southern Spain with a very prominent bridge that towers over a canyon.  None of us have even been there, so why use it as an album name?  Hamid has his own musical identity and history as do we.  Where we connect, this ancient bridge, is unique to this collaboration and unlike our respective entities.

– Brent/Mako Sica 2018

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