Amazon.com Widgets

Vámanos – Let’s Go!

By Published: | 3,590 views
As jazz continues to indelibly leave imprints on music all over the globe, this column explores everything from classic 1960s and '70 singles from Peru to contemporary updates of traditional blues from Turkey and Greece. Vámanos—let's go!

MortissaҪiğdem Aslan
Mortissa
Asphalt Tango
2013

Ҫiğdem Aslan was born in the cultural crossroads of Istanbul. She moved to London, hoping to advance her onstage and classroom studies in various musical cultures; these studies include her Songs of Smyrna project, which celebrates rebetiko and sephardic music from Turkey, and joining the She'Koyokh Klezmer Ensemble and the Balkan group Dunav. Mortissa is her solo debut, composed of rebetiko and smyrniac songs (often called "the blues of the Agean") from the 1920s and '30s. "Most of the songs are in Greek," she explains, "and I didn't know the meaning when I first heard them. It was the music I could relate to. I felt close to them even if I didn't understand a word. Once I learned what they were about, it was even better. Most of them are love songs. They're familiar to me in the way they express things. The way a woman tells off her lover is similar to what I heard in Turkey."

Aslan recorded most of Mortissa with aces from North London's Greek and Turkish musical communities, including kanun (plucked dulcimer) master Nikolaos Baimpas; She'Koyokh backs up the rousing sing-along "Trava Vre Manga Kai Alani (Away With You, Manga)" and head-spinning clarinet jam "Ferece (Veil)."

"Kanarini (Canary)" sings a beautiful vocal and instrumental melody nourished by Middle Eastern percussion and strings. Like an impending storm, "To Dervisaki (Little Dervish)" grows more intense as violin, guitar and clarinet twist and bow in a dance with Aslam's vocal, so overwhelmingly mysterious that it sounds a bit dangerous.

"Nenni (Lullaby)"will stop you dead in your tracks. Aslan's unaccompanied vocal introduction is so perfect it's bewitching; beautiful, mysterious, vibrant, haunting, evocative—her voice is all these and more. Starkly illuminated by the backup of a solitary acoustic guitar, Aslan's vocal leaves in its wake the sense that "Nenni" is a vocal incantation passed down from voice to voice, from person to person, from generation to generation.

Mortissa is more than music: It is an open window into different cultures and histories. "What I'm doing is adding details and highlighting the similarities between the cultures," Aslan concludes. "Even something like a double bass in there makes it more modern. It's adding your personality. What I'm doing is putting my feelings into the songs, trying to reflect what they make me feel."

"It shows there are no cultural boundaries in music."

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio
Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio
Whaling City Sound
2013

Drummer, composer and bandleader Gerry Gibbs
Gerry Gibbs
Gerry Gibbs
b.1964
drums
—son of renown vibes player and bandleader Terry Gibbs
Terry Gibbs
Terry Gibbs
b.1924
vibraphone
—grew up playing with musical legends from jazz traditionalists such as Clark Terry
Clark Terry
Clark Terry
b.1920
trumpet
and James Moody
James Moody
James Moody
1925 - 2010
reeds
, to Gary Bartz
Gary Bartz
Gary Bartz
b.1940
sax, alto
and Sam Rivers
Sam Rivers
Sam Rivers
1923 - 2011
sax, tenor
and other more adventurous conceptualists, to Parliament-Funkadelic and other artists who skirt the fringes in between. Gibbs' exceptionally dexterous work with pianists includes time spent in performance with bands led by Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton
1934 - 2013
piano
, Danilo Pérez, Kenny Kirkland
Kenny Kirkland
Kenny Kirkland
1955 - 1998
piano
and Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
Brad Mehldau
b.1970
piano
. Teamed here with two extraordinary artists, bassist Ron Carter
Ron Carter
Ron Carter
b.1937
bass
and pianist Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
Kenny Barron
b.1943
piano
, their Thrasher Dream Trio collective name is self- explanatory.

Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Dream Trio presents a huge piece of work, 15 tracks spanning 74 minutes that would consume a double-vinyl album set. These include four new Gibbs originals: Musical portraits of Carter ("Here Comes Ron"), pianists McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
McCoy Tyner
b.1938
piano
("When I Dream") and Don Pullen
Don Pullen
Don Pullen
1941 - 1995
piano
("The Thrasher"), and Gibbs' wife ("The Woman on the Television Screen").


comments powered by Disqus
Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Michael Carvin

Michael Carvin

About | Enter

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

Steve Wilson/Lewis Nash

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.

A musician was found with a matching name

Name:

Birthday:

Instrument:

Is this you?