Available now on Ropeadope.
Via Bandcamp – Heroes Are Gang Leaders was founded in 2014 by poet, photographer and professor Thomas Sayers Ellis and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis as a tribute to the late poet, activist and Jazz Critic Amiri Baraka. Ellis and Lewis opened for Baraka at the St Marks Church (The Poetry Project) in 2013. HAGL is a Literary Free Jazz Ensemble of writers, artists and musicians dedicated to the sound extensions of literary text and original composition. Between 2014 and 2019 HAGL recorded six projects: “The Amiri Baraka Sessions,” “The Avant-Age Garde I AMs of the Gal Luxury,” “Highest Engines Near / Near Higher Engineers,” “Flukum (Your Book Sucks)” and the yet to be released “POPschutz” (recorded in Berlin, Germany) during HAGL’s first European Tour.
Artificial Happiness Button finds HAGL moving from tribute-mode into the wider realm of integrating and expanding, in meaning and mode, what it means to be a literary jazz band once described as “a version of Funkadelic playing the Archie Shepp song book.”