Barak Schmool - Fanning The Flame


Barak Schmool is the relatively unsung organiser and ideas man behind the F-IRE Collective, the coalition of like-minded groups and musicians who have organised themselves into a musical force to reckon with. The saxophonist and percussionist continued his work very recently with a performance at the F-IRE festival in London. As two of his bands are set to release new albums, one brand new and the other a reissue, Barak explains his thinking to Daniel Spicer. Barak Schmool  - Fanning The Flame
Throughout the unstoppable rise and growing success of London’s F-IRE Collective in the last few years, one man has remained conspicuous by his absence from the headlines: F-IRE’s founder and guiding spirit, saxophonist, percussionist, composer and teacher Barak Schmool. But that could now be set to change with the simultaneous release of two CDs – Know Hope and Méta Méta – from Schmool’s band Timeline, the unit around which the collective originally formed over 10 years ago. Indeed, with these releases, there’s a real sense of the F-IRE story coming full circle.

While Méta Méta is all new material, Know Hope was the very first album put together under the F-IRE banner, recorded back in 2002 but, until now, only available online. Of course, it’s about time that this recording found its way on to the radar, and it is testament to the prescience of Schmool’s vision that it sounds fresh nearly six years down the line. Featuring the talents of F-IRE alumni including guitarist David Okumu, bassist Tom Herbert and Nick Ramm on keyboards, Know Hope is a gleeful convocation of complex, Weather Report-style funk-fusion and ancient African rhythms, refracted through a distinctly urban, 21st century sensibility. It’s also a fascinating glimpse of the sounds and attitudes that spawned F-IRE Collective and sowed the seeds for the most radical shake-up the British jazz scene has witnessed in decades.
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