Due out this fall; final recordings of late guitarist, whose March obituary is reprinted below.
By Fred Mills
The incredibly sad news this past March of the passing (from a heart attack) of Black Sun Ensemble founder, frontman and virtuoso guitarist Jesus Acedo now gets tempered by the impending release of the band’s final release. Behind Purple Clouds, on the band’s longtime label Slowburn Records. In addition to the full-length there’s a split 7” with the Dead Chiefs.
According to Slowburn: “The remaining members of Black Sun Ensemble were awarded the New Works Grant from the Tucson Pima Arts Council, for the completion and duplication of both the Behind Purple Clouds CD and the 7″. The project features several guests artists, including Al Perry, Carl Hall, Michael Henderson and former BSE members Bridget Keating and Otto Terrorist…. Jesus Acedo truly was Black Sun Ensemble, without his presence and his incredible fret skills, they band could never be the same. SlowBurn Records plans several Black Sun Ensemble releases in the future, that Acedo and Black Sun Ensemble have left behind. With Acedo’s passing, a unique vision and musical language was lost – lucky for us, recordings are forever.”
The remaining members of BSE continue on as Cobracella. More details at the Slowburn website (along with BSE and Acedo information): http://www.slowburnrecords.net/black-sun-ensemble/
Ed. note: due to our website crash and subsequent rebuild in late March, a great deal of content was lost, unable to be restored. Below is our March 3, 2013 obituary for Jesus Acedo.
Tucson musician Jesus Acedo, of legendary, often mystical-tinged Black Sun Ensemble, died this past Sunday, March 3. According to the Tucson Weekly the cause of death has not yet been reported, although in the online comments following the obituary, one reader wrote that “Jesus called my old man on Saturday, saying he was suffering from a ‘panic attack’.”[It was later determined to be a heart attack. – Ed.]
Acedo had experienced ongoing bouts with mental illness and substance abuse – as yours truly can personally testify to, having worked with him on several occasions during my 1992-2001 tenure in Tucson (I wrote some liner notes and press releases for him), not to mention seeing him perform in varying states of sharp lucidity and utter incoherence. But the music he made while fronting BSE, a simultaneously retro and futuristic brand of psychedelia that drew upon the modal templates of the Dead and Quicksilver Messenger Service while reaching towards the cosmos via the progressive and freeform visions of Hendrix, John McLaughlin and Miles Davis, was like nothing else ever to emerge from the desert. In a sense, he was celebrated more outside of Tucson than inside; I first heard of him via an article in English rock ‘zine Bucketful of Brains, and he was clearly more of a critics’ favorite than a commercial success. But he was very, very unique.
Writes Stephen Seigel of the Weekly:
“Acedo, a masterful and unique guitarist, performed with his on-and-off psychedelic rock band Black Sun Ensemble (or Black Sun Legion, as it was sometimes called) since its formation in the mid-1980s. Black Sun Ensemble’s releases received fervent praise in magazines such as Rolling Stone and by tastemakers like famed music critic and musicologist Byron Coley, who wrote the liner notes for the 2001 reissue of the band’s 1985 self-titled debut album. The band opened for Camper Van Beethoven on its Key Lime Pie tour in 1989 and performed at showcases at South by Southwest several times.
“But, despite his band’s innovative music and the loyal cult-fandom it inspired, Acedo — who often identified himself by an ever-changing list of monikers: Bolt of Apollo, Psycho Master El, Prince Master Blaster, Dada Gaga, etc. — suffered from mental illness that led to substance abuse and landed him in and out of jail and psych wards repeatedly, all of which was difficult to witness for anyone who knew him to be the kind, sensitive soul he was.”
The latterday lineup of BSE, which included members of another highly regarded, psych-leaning outfit, Sun Zoom Spark, had been working on a new recording at the time of Acedo’s passing. A Facebook page called Jesus Acedo Memorial has been established for friends, family and peers to communicate at.