Originally conceived only as a single concert at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in 2004, His Name is Alive began recording Sweet Earth Flower
shortly after that very successful evening. Although the connection between His Name is Alive and Marion Brown may not be obvious to some of the younger students, this is album is truly a very special release in either artist's varied catalog.
His Name is Alive is probably best known for having been one of the few American bands signed to famed British label 4AD. For almost twenty years, His Name is Alive has been recognized as one America's most creative and best bands. With a dozen proper studio albums at least twice that volume in live recordings, offshoot projects and special projects, His Name is Alive has built up an exceptionally devoted following.
HNIA's sonic experiments in electro, folk, blues, r & b, pop, and indie, have left fans always guessing what direction the band will turn next. The band's most popular recording was a song ("Sitting Still Moving Still Staring Outlooking", recorded on a four-track cassette recorder) that was used on the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire fi lm, others may recognize the band from its collaborations with legendary animators, The Brothers Quay.
HNIA has chosen to honor the music of Marion Brown (1935 - ), saxophonist, composer and one of the great innovators of New Music. His body of work includes Geechee Recollections - a blending of childhood experiences in Georgia with traditional Gullah culture - to Bismallahi, a lyrical performance with composer Harold Budd, produced by Brian Eno. Although Brown appeared on John Coltrane's Ascension album, performed alongside Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, and Archie Shepp and recorded his albums for Impulse!, ECM, Black Lion, and ESP, he remains largely an unsung hero of improvised music and avant-garde jazz.
On Sweet Earth Flower, His Name is Alive collaborates with members of Nomo and Antibalas for the project. The album contains studio recordings and several live recordings Marion Brown has given the project his blessing.
I thought we should do it while he is alive. We've talked quite a bit about the project and he's supported us all the way. His encouragement and insight has been incredible," says HNIA's mainman Warn Defever.
The most recent His Name is Alive album is Xmmer, released in September on Silver Mountain/Sony-BMG.
Marion Brown currently lives in Florida. Nearly half of the line-up for this album are members of the Michigan band Nomo, whose nouveau Afro-funk albums have earned respect across the globe including a recent recognition from BBC Radio 1 Giles Peterson Awards. Nomo's most recent album is New Tones (Ubiquity Recordings).
This project is perfect for High Two, a label that has oddly specialized in both indie rock and jazz. In addition to having issued albums by rock and folk artists who are fans of His Name is Alive, High Two has also released the two most recent studio albums from Dave Burrell, a longtime collaborator with Marion Brown. Brown is a also a distinct influence on the confluence of American jazz and African music of High Two artists Sonic Liberation Front.