413

Jazz & Ethiopia: Etenesh & Le Tigre & Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra

Tom Greenland By

Sign in to view read count








Eténèsh Wassié & Le Tigre (des Platanes)
Eténèsh Wassié & Le Tigre (des Platanes)
Budamusique
2007


Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra
Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra
Budamusique
2007




Ethiopia, the first African country to gain independence, has a rich musical heritage of native songs and instruments and state-sponsored brass bands, mixed with various foreign influences, including Spanish flamenco, Middle Eastern modal traditions, South American rhythms and North American pop and soul. Buda Musique has released two recent collaborative efforts between jazz musicians and Ethiopian singers that demonstrate the rich possibilities that emerge when cultures collide.

On the first disc, Eténèsh Wassié melds her dark and soulful voice with the sounds of Le Tigre (des Plantanes), a French quintet consisting of Marc Démereau (alto and baritone saxophones), Piero Pépin (trumpets), Olivier Cussac (organ), Mathieu Sourisseau (bass and guitar) and Fabien Duscombs (drums). Wassié uses a subtle mix of inflection and ornament, often ghosted by the horns, to convey the character and flavor of her native land, while Le Tigre interacts empathetically in the international language of jazz. The rhythm section is understated yet dynamic with Sourisseau favoring a thin bright tone on his electric bass, giving the tracks an edgy sound. Démereau and Pépin are extremely compatible, weaving their riffs and improvisations in a continual warp and weft of give and take. Their interplay on "Woub Abèba" is a ping-pong match, building to ecstatic heights.

The second offering is a DVD documenting the collaboration between the Boston-based big band Either/Orchestra and two Ethiopian singers: Mahmoud Ahmed, a pop star from the "Golden '70s," and Tsèdènia Gèbrè-Marqos in a brief but striking cameo. Interspersed with rehearsal and concert footage are split-screen images of E/O leader Russ Gershon and Ahmed discussing Ethiopian music and politics. E/O previously covered traditional songs, so the band is familiar with the 6/8 and 12/8 meters (called "tchiktchika"), the Phrygian cadential patterns (using chords a half-step above the tonic) and other characteristic traits. At the same time, Ethiopian musicians, influenced by Duke Ellington and others, have developed their own approach to improvised instrumental music. This meeting of cultures, "a duality of familiar and strange" as Gershon puts it, is a natural outgrowth. Gèbrè-Marqos sings a traditional "Bati" with a flute-like vocal quality, keening notes over restrained muted horns. Ahmed, fairly calm in the rehearsal clips, is a consummate showman live, hunching his shoulders or jumping up and down with abandon while he delivers his lyrics in smooth and expressive melismas. The orchestra complements the vocalists with sensitive arrangements and soloing.


Tracks & Personnel

Eténèsh Wassié & Le Tigre (des Platanes)

Tracks: Mèdinanna Zètèssègna; Muziqawi Silt; Ambassel "Fantay"; Tché Bèlèw; Yèzèmèd Yèbaed; Bati; Nèy-nèy Wèlèba; Awash; Man Yehon Telleq Sèw; Esti Lenurbet; Ambassel; Tezeta; Woub Abèba.

Personnel: Eténèsh Wassié: vocals; Marc Démereau: baritone & alto saxophones, screams; Fabien Duscombs: drums, percussion; Piero Pépin: trumpet, banjo, melodica; Mathieu Sourisseau: acoustic bass, guitar, banjo, soubassophone; Olivier Cussac: Hammond organ.

Mahmoud Ahmed & Either/Orchestra

Tracks: Amtak Abét Abét; Tezeta; Atawurulegn Léla; Bati; Bemen Sèbèb Letlash; Embiba; Kulun Mankwalèsh.

Personnel: Mahmoud Ahmed: vocal; Tsèdènia Gèbrè-Marqos: vocal; Russ Gershon: tenor & soprano saxophones; Kurtis Rivers: baritone sax, flute; Jeremy Udden: alto sax; Joel Yennior: trombone; Tom Halter: trumpet; Colin Fisher: trumpet; Leo Blanco: piano; Rich McLaughlin: bass; Pablo Bencid: drums; Vincente Lebron: congas, percussion.


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Two Sides of John Wetton Multiple Reviews Two Sides of John Wetton
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 20, 2017
Read The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August Rosenbaum Multiple Reviews The Pianist as Director: Ryuichi Sakamoto and August...
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 13, 2017
Read A Sense of Place Multiple Reviews A Sense of Place
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2017
Read David Murray Octets on Black Saint Multiple Reviews David Murray Octets on Black Saint
by Patrick Burnette
Published: October 11, 2017
Read New and Notable Releases Multiple Reviews New and Notable Releases
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 4, 2017
Read "Duke Ellington on Storyville Records" Multiple Reviews Duke Ellington on Storyville Records
by Chris Mosey
Published: March 20, 2017
Read "Emanem Releases New Music From Late, Great Heroes Lacy And Rutherford" Multiple Reviews Emanem Releases New Music From Late, Great Heroes Lacy And...
by John Eyles
Published: September 8, 2017
Read "Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD" Multiple Reviews Rolling Stones: Sweet Summer Sun & Havana Moon DVD/CD
by Doug Collette
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment" Multiple Reviews Sven-Åke Johansson's Blue For A Moment
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 2, 2017
Read "Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things Happen Slowly & Open Book" Multiple Reviews Of Stories, Songs, and Self: Fred Hersch's Good Things...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 21, 2017
Read "Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976"" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

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