Friday, February 09, 2007

whirled music

I bought a few cd’s as a little treat to myself with my tax refund money. They’re all in the ‘world music’ vein, I guess- although one is by an American…enjoy!

Eastern Sounds/ Yusef Lateef- A great early 60’s slightly eastern flavored jazz album- Yusef plays tenor sax, oboe, and some kind of really great sounding clay flute. Very laid back and moody. The pieces that aren’t eastern influenced are finger snapping Coltrane-influenced post bop. Also includes Lateef’s take on the love themes from the films ‘Spartacus’ and ‘the Robe’ Highlights: the clay flute sound in the first track ‘the plum blossom’ and the songs ‘snafu’ & ‘the three faces of balal’ where I think the bass player is playing what is called a ‘rebat’ on the album cover but what I think may be arebab– an odd shaped member of the lute family.

Niafunke/ Ali Farka Toure- Called “the Motherlands modern-day answer to John Lee Hooker” Toure, who died last March, recorded this album, on which he plays electric and acoustic guitars, in Niafunke, his village on the banks of the Niger at the edge of the Sahara desert, in “deep Mali, where the music belongs.” Traditional African call and response blues- great percussion. A few of the tracks feature a njarka violin, which is, as far as I can tell, a one stringed fiddle with a high pitched, whiny sound. Excellent album. Highlights: the djembe players throughout and track #7 ‘Instrumental’ an improvisation based on a song in homage to cattle herders.

Slave Mass/ Hermeto Pascoal- This Brazilian albino multi-instrumentalist may be best known for playing with Miles Davis during the ‘Live/Evil’ period. ‘Slave Mass’ is hard to describe- the first track, ‘mixing pot’ is just that- a mix of cheesy keyboards & jaco-style bass with freak-out percussion and screams yells & moans with some crazy flute action. A great song, although parts don’t age well (it was released in the late 1970’s) The second track starts off a beautiful acoustic guitar song with live pig samples… weird? Hell yeah… after awhile it turns kinda of spooky- with chanting that reminds me a lot of Dr. Johns ‘gris gris’ The liner notes has a great picture of Hermeto, a big freaky looking albino, holding a pig…but whatever. Every track is different, and I don’t want to do a song by song review, so I’ll end with this- this album isn’t for everybody, but if you enjoy strange, Brazilian influenced jazz (and don’t mind some cheesiness) go for it! Highlights: the solo piano track ‘just listen’ and Airto Moreira on percussion.

Macire/Boubacar Traore- Affectionately known as ‘Karkar’, Boubacar Traore is a famous Malian guitar player. I first learned of him by watching a great documentary called “I’ll Sing For You”, a heartbreaking tale of life and loss and music in Mali. I don’t have much to say about this album- gorgeous guitar tracks with subtle percussion and violin. Superb.

great weekend ahoy…


Tmoore said...

there's this Psychadelic jazz / funk comp on vinyl at PP i almost picked up you should check out; its got some cool names on it, lateef and sun ra are two of them... its only like 12 bucks too.

ben said...

do you have Musica Livre de Hermeto Paschoal? that the one where he used barnyard sounds and got kicked the fuck out of Brazil. Its awesome. If my hard drive is not dead i'll burn it for you when i get back.

casey said...

Niafunke is an awesome album. I miss that duder.