100

Ahmed Abdullah: Actual Proof

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
The lasting influence of Sun Ra is infinite and its always a pleasure to hear testimony from the relatively small number of his regular sidemen who are now leading their own groups. The joy is particularly palatable in the case of Abdullah whose bright brassy trumpet powered the Arkestra brass-section on their cosmic flights of fancy for many years. Ahmed is one of those musicians who effectively shaped the lessons he learned from Ra during his stint with the band to his own devices coming up with a truly original voice both on his instrument and in his compositional approach. His NAM quartet is built around the common denominator of Harding whose shared associations with the musicians originally brought the group together. The quartet elects a diverse songbook of tunes for the date that draw both on jazz traditions and on South African musical styles which have long been a source of erudition for Abdullah.

“Magwalandini” begins with a repeating bass riff, shuffling drums and unison horns in a that style strangely reminiscent of Tommy Peltier’s Jazz Corps (how’s that for an obscure reference). Harding’s baritone really digs in during his solo, tearing up huge strips of melody that sound all the more lusty on the deep horn, and the tune careens along at a spirited clip. It’s a relative rarity to hear some play the baritone with the level of gutsy bravado that Harding insists upon whenever he places his reed to his lips. “Blues for Barbara Jean” rings true to its name and Harding’s heated honks caress with a rugged tenderness. Abdullah slips a mute into his horn and vocalizes a chain of indigo slurs and shrill phrases during his own tenure as the lead voice. The Ra tune “Sketch,” affords more opportunity for galloping solos particularly again from Harding whose fierce whinnying lines blast forth from the bell of his sax with harrowing alacrity. “Serenade to Marion Brown,” originally penned by Gunter Hampel, demonstrates the importance of Kamaguchi’s presence and it is his repeating bass riff that anchors the tune in a meditative mood. The foursome’s reading of “Naima” is positively sumptuous and hearing the reverent melody played on baritone and trumpet offers a new twist to the time-honored tune. “Song of Tenderness” is waltz-like in construction with Abdullah again on mute and Harding on bass clarinet. All four players come together in a relaxed swing that is beautiful in its simplicity. An exciting pulse fires up the two part concluding piece and takes the disc out on a resounding high note. Another resplendent feather in the cap for CIMP.


Track Listing: Magwalandini, Blues for Barbara Jean, Sketch, Serenade for Marion Brown, Naima, Song of Tenderness, Song of Time (for Fred Hopkins)/Shaka Zulu.

Recorded at The Spirit Room, Rossie New York, January 18 & 19, 1999.

Available through Cadence/NorthCountry Distributors (www.cadencebuilding.com)

Personnel: Ahmed Abdullah- trumpet, Alex Harding- baritone saxophone, bass clarinet, Masa Kamaguchi- double bass, Jimmy Weinstein- drums.

| Record Label: CIMP Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Border Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Border Crossing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4" CD/LP/Track Review Holding the Stage: Road Shows Vol. 4
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: November 19, 2016
Read "Hungarian Noir" CD/LP/Track Review Hungarian Noir
by James Nadal
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Omío" CD/LP/Track Review Omío
by James Nadal
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Troy Collins
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Pittsburgh" CD/LP/Track Review Pittsburgh
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!