108

Either/Orchestra: Ethiopiques 20: Live in Addis

Jerry D'Souza By

Sign in to view read count
Either/Orchestra: Ethiopiques 20: Live in Addis In January 2004, the Either/Orchestra went to Ethiopia to play at the Ethiopian Music Festival. The band has always been flexible in its vision, and so it comes as no surprise that the group decided to play Ethiopian music (the musicians were already familiar with it, having recorded "The Ethiopian Suite on More Beautiful Than Death). A natural progression was to invite Ethiopian musicians to join the group as guests. And so they got Gétatchèw Mèkurya, Mulatu Astatqé, Tsèdènia Gèbrè-Marqos, and Michael Bèlaynèh, and even pulled Bahta Gèbrè-Heywèt out of retirement! With all that talent on stage, the concert could be nothing less than fascinating, and it was!

Ethiopian music is rhythmic, colourful, and fascinating. These attributes are given an expansive canvas on the opening track, percussion heralding the horns, with Jeremy Udden and Colin Fisher laying the lines that sweep into the melody. The odd metre of the notes daub a deep hue, but percussion and drums add bright sprinkles. Movement is swift and Fisher transcends the obvious and takes a high angular sweep, the swell of his ideas incessantly captivating. Intensity is calmed and the lull is described by Udden through squiggles, quick sliding slivers, and knotted whorls, before it is all enveloped in the giddying whirls of the band.

The mood is gentler on "Altchalkoum." The unison horns in glistening lines give Russ Gershon the lead-in for some hardy tenor that casts taut three-dimensional figures that serrate and etch, yet are blessed with an underlying elasticity. "Shellèla," a war chant, is the power center for Gétatchèw Mèkurya, whose wail is greeted rapturously by the audience. Mekurya invests his playing with a raw edge, a craggy cry, a haughty defiance, fire crackling with intensity, and then in consonance with E/O, he turns the traditional tune into a volatile tempest.

The singers are a revelation in themselves. Whether or not you understand the words, how can you escape the verve of Bahta Gèbrè-Heywèt, the naked emotion that saturates Michael Bèlaynèh's singing, or the purity of Tsèdènia Gèbrè-Marqos' voice that draws you to its flame?

This is a fine exposition of Ethiopian music that, in extension, makes for a throbbing coupling with jazz.


Track Listing: CD 1: Amlak Ab

Personnel: Russ Gershon: tenor and soprano saxophone; Jeremy Udden: alto saxophone; Henry Cook: baritone saxophone, flute; Joel Yennior: trombone; Tom Halter: trumpet; Colin Fisher: trumpet: Greg Burk: piano, Fender Rhodes; Rick McLaughlin: bass; Harvey B. Wirht: drums; Vicente Lebron: congas, percussion. With Mulatu Astotq

Title: Ethiopiques 20: Live In Addis | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Buda Musique


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Towards Language CD/LP/Track Review Towards Language
by John Eyles
Published: June 23, 2017
Read The Romeo and Juliet Project CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Crystal Machine CD/LP/Track Review Crystal Machine
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 23, 2017
Read Saluting Sgt. Pepper CD/LP/Track Review Saluting Sgt. Pepper
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 22, 2017
Read Thick as Thieves CD/LP/Track Review Thick as Thieves
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 22, 2017
Read "92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House" CD/LP/Track Review 92 Years Young: Jammin' At The Gibbs House
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Upbeat And Sweet" CD/LP/Track Review Upbeat And Sweet
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 13, 2017
Read "Live in New York" CD/LP/Track Review Live in New York
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 8, 2016
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Reflections" CD/LP/Track Review Reflections
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: March 11, 2017
Read "Conversations" CD/LP/Track Review Conversations
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: May 15, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.