Σάββατο, 28 Απριλίου 2012

Mushroom with Eddie Gale - Joint Happening [2007]

It's difficult to pin down the identity of this San Francisco trio beyond their core ethics of experimentation and improvisation. Their recorded legacy takes in jazz, prog-rock, psych, rhythmic krautrock, funk, soul and acid, but never in the straightforward ways the labels might imply. On their latest, paired with avant garde trumpeter Eddie Gale, the jazz and psych flavors are strongest and the group's improvisational skills are in full bloom with dreamy creations that meander at length, but never get lost.

With pieces that range from seven to eighteen minutes, there's plenty of room for interplay between the musicians. But unlike traditional jazz structures in which the band states the theme, a round of solos ensues and the original thread is recovered, the jamming hear is holistic. The players impact each other in real time, rather than in rounds or call-and-response, building a tapestry of improvisation, rather than just a lead with backing players. The tracks flow with ease, often segueing across index marks.

The band mines a groove on "I Was Torn Down at the Dance Place, Shaved Head at the Organ," with melodic improvisation giving way to a rhythmic catharsis of piano, drums, bells and assorted shakers before settling back into the pocket. The mix of jazz and funk is reminiscent of Herbie Hancock's fusion work, but with an extra degree of improvisational freedom. Eddie Gale is superb throughout the album, drawing from his work with Sun Ra and Cecil Taylor, as well as his own sporadic solo releases. It's inspiring to hear artists come together in musical conversation and find a common language that flows as freely as this. Fans of free jazz, funk and psych will all find this intriguing.



Πέμπτη, 26 Απριλίου 2012

Mercan Dede : Seyahatname & 800

Mercan Dede believes that when you put digital, electronic sounds together with hand-made, human ones, you can create universal language, capable of uniting old and young, ancient and modern, East and West. It's a bold claim, but the Turkish-born and Montreal-based musician/producer/DJ has the career and the music to back it up. When he takes the stage with his group Secret Tribe, he hovers at the side behind his turntables and electronics, occasionally picking up a traditional wooden flute, or ney to float in sweet, breathy melodies, while masters of the kanun (zither), clarinet, darbuka (hand drum) and whatever other instruments he's decided to include that night, ornament his grooves and spin magical, trance melodies to match the whirling of the group's spectacular dervish dancer, Mira Burke.

Mercan Dede - Seyahatname [2001]

 Created for dancers, these pieces have a wonderful Turkish elegance. Mercan Dede, who moved from Turkey to Canada, uses musicians from both countries to create his sound, which manages to be spacious and airy without ever floating away. Spoken word samples add to the atmosphere, as on the opening of "Semaname," where a rhythm that could almost be Native American appears under a wispy flute line; although it never completely develops as a piece of music, there's still something lovely about it. Like many of the pieces here, the rhythm is more important than the melody; on "Hayalname," for example, there are layers of polyrhythms throughout the piece. Dede understands Turkish music, and doesn't go for easy, flashy sounds. Instead, he subtly mixes melodies with programmed beats on "Sahname" or the antiphonal phrasing between instruments over brooding synth tones at the opening of "Vefaname." By its very nature, this is different to Dede's other albums, where the emphasis is on melody. But, listened to on its own terms, this is a great success.     

  Focusing on the divine beauty of the ney, percussive instruments, and poetic vocals in various languages, Mercan Dede puts forth an album dedicated to his teacher, the Mevlana in celebration of his 800th birthday. Music, dance and poetry were art forms integral to the Mevlana`s teachings, and on this album Mercan Dede creates a final tribute that fully conveys the lessons the Mevlana set out to teach eight centuries ago. Peace is the central theme of this album and as a result it sets out to convey humanistic messages and poems from one track to the next.


Τρίτη, 24 Απριλίου 2012

Theodosii Spassov & Kostas Theodorou - Echotopia [2000]

    Τον Απρίλη του 2000 ο Κώστας Θεοδώρου και ο Theodosii Spassov μπήκαν στο στούντιο με την τρελή ιδέα να καλέσουν φίλους. Διαφορετικούς την κάθε μέρα, με τους οποίους θα συνέθεταν και θα ηχογραφούσαν εκείνη τη στιγμή καινούριο υλικό. Το πείραμα πέτυχε!
Από το στούντιο πέρασαν οι Haig Yazdjian (ούτι), Βασίλης Πιερακέας (κιθάρες), Νίκος Σιδηροκαστρίτης (ντραμς), Βαγγέλης Καρύττης (κρουστά), Αποστόλης Άνθιμος (ντραμς), Δήμος Δημητριάδης (σαξόφωνο), Μάνος Σαριδάκης (ηλεκτρικό πιάνο), Παντελής Στόικος (Τρομπέτα), Βασίλης Κοματάς (κλαρίνο), Κώστας Αναστασιάδης (ντραμς), Νίκος Καρατζάς (βιμπράφωνο).
Όλα τα κομμάτια φτιάχτηκαν και ηχογραφήθηκαν ζωντανά και
χωρίς διορθώσεις μέσα σε λίγες μέρες με πολύ καλή διάθεση και προπάντων πολύ-πολύ γέλιο.

Όλοι οι συντελεστές είναι και συνθέτες σε μια συνεργασία δίχως «αφεντικά» όπου ο καθένας καταθέτει τον προσωπικό του ήχο. Έτσι, συν-υφαίνοντας «ηχοτοπία» , μεταφέρθηκαν σε έναν κόσμο συνύπαρξης και συνδημιουργίας χωρίς δογματικούς φραγμούς.



Δευτέρα, 23 Απριλίου 2012

Dimitris Poulikakos - Crazy Love stou Zografou [1979]

  A legendary live album from Dimitri Poulikako, often referred as the concert of the rain,as it was cancelled twice because of rain.The band, consisting of 18 members, represent the cream of the Greek late 70's scene and even though some of them have never played together before,the result is a highly energetic performance.The songs  are all covers,but played so good that in some cases they challenge the originals!


Κυριακή, 22 Απριλίου 2012

Orchester Frank Pleyer - Topless [1969]

  Topless was one of the grooviest albums ever produced by Frank Pleyer and was released at Frank Valdor's short lived Hippo label in 1969! This album is not just one of the biggies, but it is also a "holy grail" album, it features Charly Antolini one of the heaviest drummers of the European jazz scene in the 60s and 70s -- there's plenty of killer hammond organ, tight drums, percussions, flute, brassy horns and also some Brazilian cuica! Very rare and highly recommended!


Σάββατο, 21 Απριλίου 2012

New York Ska Jazz Ensemble - New York Ska Jazz Ensemble [1995]

  The New York Ska-Jazz Ensemble debuts with a strong collection of originals and jazz classics by the likes of Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk, and Eddie Harris. Longtime veterans of the ska scene, the Ensemble blends the rhythmic danceability of ska with the improvisation and swing of jazz quite effectively. The results will, of course, infuriate jazz purists, but most ska fans will find the record an exuberant, forward-looking gem. 


Παρασκευή, 20 Απριλίου 2012

Fats Theus - Black out [1970]

This is the first release by tenor sax player Fats Theus. Originally released in 1970 on Creed Taylor‘s CTI label, this album was quite hard to find until it was re-released in 2000. Mr. Taylor also produced this album.
Session players include Grant Green, who plays some excellent guitar, Hilton Felton and Clarence Palmer on organ, Jimmy Lewis and Chuck Rainey on bass, Idris Muhammad on drums, and Eddie Moore, who plays a saw solo(!) on Bed Of Nails.
This album is all about soul-jazz. It’s heavily blues and soul influenced. If Booker T and the M.G.s went to jazz camp every summer in their youth, this is what they might have come up with.


Πέμπτη, 19 Απριλίου 2012

Abuela Grillo

Τετάρτη, 18 Απριλίου 2012

Janko Nilovic - Psyc Impressions [1970]

Janko Nilovic's 1970 album Psyc Impressions  is a concentrate of the crazy music from the end of the '60s, also introducing the mix of styles from the '70s. Elements of big band jazz, psychedelia, funk and rock meld themselves to a solid pop base. Guitars are dipped into an acid bath, bass and drums wind on to infinity, and swarms of brass kindle the live embers of a high-powered groove. As the ultimate testament to this record’s quality,


Παρασκευή, 13 Απριλίου 2012

The Howard Roberts Quartet - Color Him Funky [1963]

  Music history was made in February, 1963 at Capitol Records Studio A in Hollywood. That's when Howard Roberts began recording a series of albums that would set the standard for compelling guitar-oriented arrangements. The series beginning with Color Him Funky. capitalized on the interplay between guitar and organ (courtesy Paul Bryant and Burkley Kendrix, respectively). Howard's playing is superb, sophisticated and at times ferocious, with blistering solos that testify to the hard-driving style of this architect of the 60s West Coast Sound. 



Πέμπτη, 12 Απριλίου 2012

Andrew Wartts and the Gospel Storyteller - There Is A God Somewhere [1982]

Wartts holds hard to a then-outmoded JB's/Curtom sound, with funky drums, soft, wailing organ, golden harmonies and Oliver Sain guitarist Earl Wright laying down a minor-key chicken-scratch soul groove. Wartts burrows into the far corners of the Bible (The 37th Psalm, 25th verse; Luke, Chapter 16; John 14; the third chapter in the book of Acts), his sweet harmonies making these dusty, forbidding words sound like the mesmerizing entreaties of Curtis Mayfield. A silvery, euphoric sound, that is also effortlessly funky, it comes close to convincing you that the way of the Lord is a joyous one, not merely the mean choice between being a sinner or a winner. 


Τετάρτη, 11 Απριλίου 2012

Herbie Mann - Mssissippi Gambler [1972]

  After dipping into the Memphis Underground, Herbie continues his tour of the funky south – recording here at American Studios in Memphis (only 5 miles from Mississippi, we guess!), with a small combo that includes Bobby Emmons on organ, Bobby Wood on electric piano, and Reggie Young on guitar. There's a relaxed easy groove to the album that makes it one of Mann's most consistently satisfying funky albums – and David Newman turns out some great solos on tenor and flute, which really soup the record up! Tracks are long, and titles include "Dippermouth", "Mississippi Gambler", "Respect Yourself", and "Satisfaction".


Herbie Mann - Memphis two-step [1971]

   This record is from Herbie's soul and rock period (1971) and also explores some of the spacey, textural territory that is so present on "Stone Flute" from the previous year. "Acapulco Rain" and his rendition of David Crosby's "Guinnevere" stand as some of the best spacey jazz to come from that era with lots of reverb-laden flute, inter-weaving, intricate guitar parts, sizzling cymbals, lovely textures from Roy Ayers and an overall mellow vibe. The funky pieces, particularly the title track with Coryell's scorching solo, also shine. Outstanding.


Herbie Mann - Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty [1970]

 Although it followed a formula similar to the hugely successful Memphis Underground, Muscle Shoals Nitty Gritty stands on its own as a superb example of the fusion of jazz with '60s soul music, a genre that Herbie Mann stood atop at the time of its release. In addition to Mann band members Roy Ayers, Miroslav Vitous and Bruno Carr, the recording employs the Muscle Shoals rhythm section that had played together on numerous soul hits of the '60s, including those of Aretha Franklin. Standout cuts include the title track, with the its horn-driven groove; Sharrock's "Blind Willy," featuring a jew's-harp hook; and a smoldering version of Lennon & McCartney's "Come Together." Throughout the album, Mann's solos wail through the upper register of the flute, while Ayers finds interestingly funky passages on the vibes.


Δευτέρα, 9 Απριλίου 2012

Frank Wess - Wess To Memphis [1971]

This is a funky soul album from Frank Wess that's loaded to brim with flutes,wah wah,vibes and all the ingredients for super funky album.


Donald Byrd - A New Perspective [1963]

  A hauntingly beautiful album, trumpeter Donald Byrd's A New Perspective is a unique pairing of a jazz septet with an 8-voice choir. The choir's wordless harmonizing lends an incredible heaviness to the music, a weight that leaves a deep impression in the mind of the listener. Although the group features such stars as Herbie Hancock and Kenny Burrell, they take care to act in support of the overall concept and not overplay, while Byrd's solos provide a perfect compliment to the choir, often quoting the same melodies. While some cuts like the opener "Elijah" swing jubilantly, the album works best on slow, somber numbers like "Beast of Burden" and "Cristo Redentor", the languid paces of which allow them to resonate with an almost unbearable degree of solemnity. An absolute must-have album.



Κυριακή, 8 Απριλίου 2012

John Mayall - Jazz Blues Fusion [1972]

This is an outstanding live album that deserves a listen by all blues fans. Mayall's legacy may well be assembling and recognizing talent long before those individual's move on to become household names. Here however, Mayall keeps the formula simple by adding the trumpet of Blue Mitchel and Sax of Clifford Solomon with the guitar of Freddy Robinson and the precussion of Ron Selico for some fantastic, ahead of its time, Blues with a Jazz flavor. Simply outstanding!


Horace Silver - Total Response [1971]

Funky work by Horace Silver – with a spiritual and political edge! Volume 2 (or "Phase 2") in Horace's United States Of Mind series has politically-oriented and self-reflective vocals by Andy Bey and his sister Salome – with lots of trippier elements, and a sinister soul & funk groove! Horace plays electric piano, and the band includes Cecil Bridgewater on trumpet & fluegelhorn, Harold Vick on tenor sax, and Bob Cranshaw on bass, Richie Resnicoff on guitar and Mickey Roker on drums. The titles probably give more information about the tracks than we ever could, and include "Acid, Pot, Or Pills", "Soul Searchin", "What Kind Of Animal Am I" (which amazingly blends gospel, funk and honky tonk) , "I've Had A Little Talk" and "Big Business".


Σάββατο, 7 Απριλίου 2012

Merit - Queen of Swedish Hammond Folk Groove '71-'77

  Swedish Hammond Folk Groove, yeah!! We hadn't heard of her before we came across this, but now we know she made a handful of records in the '70s that brought together ancestral Swedish folk melodies, jazzy Hammond organ grooving, and some colorful psychedelic moves. Merit's Hammond is at the fore, playing her own swingin', riffin' take on these traditional tunes, but the arrangements also variously incorporate '70s funky wah-wah psych guitars, her lovely, wordless vocals, flutes and bongos and more... It's all so sunshiney and delightful, reminding us of everything from Hansson & Karlsson to Turid to The Free Design to a calmer, mellower version of Aavikko! And of course modern-day Swedish folk organ duo Sagor & Swing.
Merit's music is gentle, soulful, rhythmic -- so nice! It's total "grooving with trolls and flowers in the forest funk". Not your everyday organ jazz that's for sure, though Merit got her start in the '60s playing jazz -- she came over to the New York City to study, taking piano lessons from both Joe Zawinul and Lalo Schifrin and even getting to sit in with Miles Davis's band! But soon she went in a more pop/funk direction, and then became inspired by Scandinavia's rich history of olden folk music to create the sounds heard here.
The twenty tracks on this collection are all from albums originally released between 1971-1977 (Huvva, Trollskog, Bergtagen, Balsam, and Hoven Droven) except for a couple of recently-recorded tracks at the disc's end done in a similar style, featuring as sidemen members of currently happenin' Swedish retro-leaning rock bands (and big Merit fans) Dungen and The Ark! That's right, while obscure for years even in Sweden, she's undergone a bit of a hipster rediscovery lately and in fact this disc (the first time on cd for most of this music) is the prelude to a new album due out this year. 


Joe Thomas - Is The Ebony Godfather [1970]

The greatest album ever recorded by Joe Thomas – and a hip batch of funky flute tracks that ranks with the best work of Jeremy Steig or SOUL! Joe's blowing here with arrangements by Chico O'Farrill – strangely off-beat backings that add in more than a touch of Latin to the funk, making for a strong little groove on the best cuts. There's a couple of short funky 45 cuts on here, like "Chitlins & Chuchyfritos" and "Ebony Godfather", but the real winner is a long version of Gary Byrd's "Every Brother Ain't a Brother", which features Joe soloing next to some great funky keyboards!


Παρασκευή, 6 Απριλίου 2012

Merl Saunders - Merl Saunders [1974]

Merl Saunders was born in California and grew up playing the Hammond B3 in various styles from Blues to Jazz to Rock. For a short period in the 60s he even played with the Grateful Dead. On his self-titled album he played mostly Soul-Jazz like on Evil Ways, When I Die and Bolinas Brown that starts off with a drum break. The two best songs, and funkiest, are the originals Aunt Monk and Righteousness. David Axelrod helped Saunders produce the album and Billy Fender, Phil Upchurch, King Errison were some of the musicians that recorded with him. 


Merl Saunders - Fire Up [1973]

What might have been worth volumes of rock history, but turned out to be nothing much more than a short story, was the supergroup comprising members of both the Grateful Dead and Creedence Clearwater Revival, a ship whose captain was the wonderful Merl Saunders. With both the chops and musical background to lead the somewhat younger rock neophytes on a vision quest, Saunders became something of a galvanizing force, bringing out some of the tightest and strongest performances of the players featured here. As this band evolved in later years, former Creedence Clearwater Revival guitarist Tom Fogerty was pushed out of the picture and Saunders began a program of diversity in which the hapless Garcia would be thrust into the limelight on ballads such as "My Funny Valentine," an ungrateful fish out of water to be sure. There is none of that here, as the program wisely emphasizes the leader's clever songwriting; fans of the good ol' boogaloo should enjoy both "Soul Roach" and "Chock-Lite Puddin'." The range of material is narrowly focused into the areas where these players really excel, rather than attempting to be jaw-droppingly eclectic. Of the covers, the best is an energetic reworking of "Expressway to Your Heart," in which Saunders displays his feel for light, melodic soul material. He gets the others to play in the pocket, yet these are hippie bell-bottoms with holes in the pockets; the slightly unkempt nature of the Bay Area psychedelic rockers adds a nice atmosphere.


Πέμπτη, 5 Απριλίου 2012

Gary Burton - Throb [1969]

This album has  an avant-country flavor, with Burton, Swallow, and Goodwin joined by guitarist Jerry Hahn and violinist Richard Greene; Michael Gibbs and Swallow contributed most of the obscurities. Burton was at his most explorative during this period, which is why he can be considered one of the pioneers of fusion (although his music never really fit into a tight category). This is excellent music that mostly still sounds fresh.


Gary Burton And Stephane Grapelli - Paris Encounter [1969]

In 1969, Gary Burton was blazing jazz trails that could not exactly be described as traditional. He teams up with Le Hot Club of France Stephane Grappelli, conservative stalwart in the European tradition, for a little stroll around the block. The year 1935 was a long time ago. Here we have an electric bass. Not only that, Steve Swallow is behind it. Round this date out with Bill Goodwin and the uninitiated might suspect that Monsieur Grappelli is out numbered by younger players. Non matter, Grappelli plays even the Swallow original "Elderdown" as if he wrote it himself.
Grappelli more than any other jazz violinist identified that instrument with himself, much in the same way Toots Theilmans did the harmonica. No matter who the violinist is, be it Jean-Luc Ponty, Michel Urbaniak, or Regina Carter, the listener can always hear Grappelli. For his own credit, Burton behaves and turns out his most accessible playing of the period. Steve Swallow if fine even as a young man. Apex of the disc may be Miles "Blue in Green." This release is a super empathy between the old and the new. Recommended.


Τετάρτη, 4 Απριλίου 2012

Emir Kusturica & The No Smoking Orchestra - Unza Unza Time [2000]

No Smoking's debut as a "world" band reintroduces filmmaker Emir Kusturica -- who had a brief stint as the bass player of Zabranjeno Pusenje (Yugoslavian for No Smoking) in the mid-'80s -- to the group. Now one of the band's guitarists, he contributes sparingly toward songwriting and arranging. This is still the band of lead singer Dr. Nelle Karajlic, whose acerbic vocals and commanding presence dictate the group's course. But colorful instruments like balalaika, tuba, accordion, trumpet, and accordion contribute significantly as well. The term "Unza Unza" describes the hybrid of music found on this record. The Balkans are a centrally located region surrounded by Turkish, European gypsy, Greek, Russian, Middle Eastern, and Italian music. German and Spanish music is also welcome into this interwoven musical fabric that cites the local music of Romania, Serbia, Hungary, Albania, Bosnia, and Bulgaria as its foundation. The '70s punk sound that was No Smoking's initial influence is all but abandoned here, although Karajlic still retains some of his snarling and loathsome attitude. Combine that with the eclecticism of groups like Reptile Palace Orchestra and Brave Combo and the offbeat tendencies of mid-'80s Tom Waits, and perhaps a rough portrait of this group can be painted. This is an incredibly unique album that is essential listening for fans of alternative world music. 


Daevid Allen - Eat Me Baby I'm A Jelly Bean [1998]

Daevid Allen
Eat Me Baby Booklet Notes: Daevid Allen
15th October, 1998

In 1955 I was sweet seventeen, living in Australia & profoundly into bebop. My heroes were Thelonius Sphere Monk, Sonny Rollins, Charlie Mingus & of course Bird, Diz & Miles. Maybe for a true black culture purist it was politically incorrect but I also enjoyed Dave Brubeck & Paul Desmond, Gerry Mulligan and Stan Kenton. And then there were also the early vocal scat singers like Roy Kraal & Jackie Cain and the outrageous Woody Herman Big Band.
One day in a Melbourne second hand records box I discovered a strange album that was to be a future psychic signpost pointing to a luminous green planet called Gong. It was a Sun Ra Cosmick Arkestra album.
Every night I drifted off to sleep to the sound of Kim Bonython's late jazz program on ABC radio & it was on one of these shows that I first heard of a singer named Bobby Troupe. His album sported arrangements for four assorted saxophones- a gorgeous thick sound -quite radical for mid fifties ears. It was not until much later that I realised he had penned the famed hit: 'Route 66'.
Bobby had also rewritten the words of the songs to suit himself, a true free spirit & worthy role model. I was particularly amused by his version of I CAN'T GET STARTED & it stayed in my mind for years. T'was only natural that, 42 years later, I should in turn rewrite his version to suit myself & include it amongst my tributes to my musical mentors.

In 1997 I was a nifty fifty nine  passing thru a summery LA on my way to a Gong tour of Europe, Japan, USA & UK. Our US agent Shawn Ahearn had set up a gig for his Japanese jazz singer wife Sami Kaneda at Steamer's jazz cafe and she and her band (which included ex Miles Davis drummer: Ndugu Chancler & a spectacular russian classical pianist turned jazzman: Eugene Maslov) were running hot!
Spontaneously invited by Sami to sit in for a couple of songs I found an instant rapport with the band. I flashed that if ever I was to do an album singing jazz standards as a tribute to the music that had put me onto my life path, this had to be the band to do it with. So I called my friend & designer Peter Hartl in Austria & asked if he would lend me the loot to leap the first hurdle. He was sweetly cool. Go!
So two days later we met at the Stagg Street studios at Van Nuys and with a second Austrian, the renown jazz producer: Franz Putsch at the controls, magic immediately happened. By the end of the afternoon we had the whole album down.
Several vocals were finished then but others would be rewritten & thus resung. Space was allotted for Didier Malherbe's sax parts to be added at the end of the US Gong tour. The results were my delight. As I caught my plane for London I was over the bananaluna...
Two months later there was spare evening during the Gong tour for Didier's sax parts but no money to pay the studio. To my profound relief, Dr Wolf Thandoy the eminent motorologist lent us the lolly bless his parts. Didier (whose musical roots were exactly parallel to mine) was in his elemental. The final step was to add the altered lyrics & mix as I returned thru LA towards Oz. After much passionate negotiation, Jonny Greene of GAS furnished the final finance in the form of japanese yen.

Oo scooby dooby & all of a suddenly I was a goldtop yen jellybean! Voila! Ze lounge wizard was born again!


Τρίτη, 3 Απριλίου 2012

Ian Carr with Nucleus - Solar Plexus [1971]

   Ian Carr describes this album for you."I wrote "Solar Plexus" last year with the help of an "Arts Council" grant. It is based on two short themes which are stated at the beginning("Elements I & II"). The first theme is angular and has a slow crab-like movement : the second theme is direct,simple and diatonic "Changing Times" and "Spirit Level" explore the first theme,and "Bedrock Deadlock" and "Torso" explore the second one."Snakeships' Dream" tries to fuse both themes".

 Solar Plexus is Ian Carr with an expanded Nucleus line up to give that extra dimension to the music. Everyone has a chance to blow too but somehow no-one dominates and the whole piece hinges upon group interplay rather than extended histrionics.
It is significant, and indicative of the quality of the personnel involved that this record was completed in just two days during December 1970. In fact this record is recorded using to quote Carr himself "maximum use of minimum material".


Δευτέρα, 2 Απριλίου 2012

Rabih Abou-Khalil - Blue Camel [1992]

Blue Camel is a real breakthrough album. The construction of Arab music forms and American jazz, combined with a great blend of Mid-Eastern and Western instrumentation, is simply ingenius in and of itself, aside from the brilliant, virtuoso performances displayed on this album. This is the perfect, early portrayal of a pioneer, multi-ethnic style of music, and probably the best of the early albums of Rabih Abou-Khalil.
The diversity of styles is amazing, ranging from the moody, deep soundscapes of "Sahara" and "Beirut" to the jazzier, less involved songs like "Rabou-Abou-Kabou." The instrumentation, particularly the flugelhorn and trumpet, add a great texture to the sound. In both mood and scope, it can almost be characterized as a new Kind of Blue.


Charlie Mariano - Charlie Mariano's Nassim [1998]

On this album Charlie Mariano sets out for a journey through the musical landscape of North Africa. Oud, percussion, and vocals from the Maghreb meet Mariano’s saxophone and Dave King’s electric bass. Throughout the record one feels mutual understanding — both sound-worlds are self-confident, yet curious and interested in the nature of the other. They talk, dance, question and embrace each other. A true dialogue of civilizations.
As much, the music inspired this inter-cultural typeface-design. Although both projects are from totally different fields, the fundamental principles and assumptions behind them are similar: mutual respect, understanding and generosity between the cultures.



Embryo - Ibn Battuta [1994]

On Ibn Battuta, Embryo’s focus has shifted towards music from the Middle East.
Quite an excellent album mixing jazz, fusion and above all various styles of Arabic music. On the title track Edgar Hoffman plays some lovely Turkish clarinet. “Simai Ka” features a Coltrane like soprano sax solo by Chuck Henderson, and Edgar Hoffman plays a dreamy solo on the ney (a type of flute often used in North African/Arabic music). Burchard adds several virtuoso contributions on vibraphone/xylophone. “Kletta” is an interesting piece trying to merge percussive elements and structures of three continents. Dieter Serfas plays on the African talking drum and Yusuf Esqah joins on Indian tablas, while Burchard plays the hackbrett (hammer dulcimer).