Home » Jazz Articles » Various Artists: Jazz Around The World

352
Album Review

Various Artists: Jazz Around The World

By

Sign in to view read count
Various Artists: Jazz Around The World
Putumayo World Music is a unique record label. It is a label of "various artists" projects, but what sets it apart from other labels that produce compilations of music is that Putumayo compilations are well off even the road less travelled. First of all, the label compiles not so much songs by artists, but music that provides a glimpse of a cultural ethos.

Secondly, Putumayo has designed the "musical-cultural" encounters to be almost like a meaningful huddle in a local café. So you get records such as Brazilian Café, French Café, Latin Café and so on. Now there is this compilation, Jazz Around the World, and it is a concept that purports to be unique. The proof, in this instance, is in the legitimacy of the hearing. And what a wonderful proof is indeed provided here.

The music is here is pure Putumayo, which means not only songs and artists of a very high standard, but also music well off the beaten track. The songs interpret the spirit of jazz—freedom, soulful renditions of narratives, lyric poetry, and the overall spirit of human triumph—but unique to each of the cultures represented. For instance the entry from New Zealand is not a swing or bebop or song of modern inflection improvised or through composed by a local artist, but the spirit of jazz interpreted by a Maori artist: Kataraina Pipi's rendition of "Te Reo o Papatuanuku" a plaintive conversation with the Maori deity, Earth Mother, and wife of Rangi-nui in a style reminiscent of Tin Pan Alley meets the Singers Unlimited.

George Gershwin classic song from Porgy and Bess gets completely transformed in style, by instrumentation and an arrangement with strings and percussion. So fingers and thumbs at the Kora and Kalimba and other a log-like xylophone turn the wistful song into a celebration under a Malian sun called "Summertime in Bamako." And "Donnalee" becomes its Cameroonian counterpart—and not a bebop version—called "Donalina," which is more like an elegiac Afro-bossa track. The now famous, "Chan Chan" retains its melody, but is harmonically transformed by pianist, Abdoulaye Diabaté, Kora player Djeli Moussa, and percussionist Moussa Cissoko, who solo with characteristic and polytonal elegance and graceful polyrhythm.

Canada's Francophone chanteuse, Chantal Chamberland does a star turn on "La Mer," and the American, Heather Rigdon makes a dark blue entrance in "Young and Naïve." Johnny Stirling blows a sharp bell-like Harmon mute as he accompanies the French-Algerian, Kad on "J'aime Mon Lit," as the singer resurrects that certain something that only Jacques Brél had. Billy Cobham and Asere contribute a seductive cha-cha-cha. Sherele swaggers and "swoons" the blues mixed with a polka on "Polka Dot Blues" in which the Mexican, Nathalie Braux plays a fine, otherworldly clarinet solo. Hugh Masekela shows his trumpet mastery as he shuffles his way through "Open the Door."

With this record, Putumayo World Music appears to be opening that door to modern music just a tad wider, worldwide.

Track Listing

La Mer, Quiéreme Mucho; Donalina; Chan Chan; Young and Naïve; J'aime Mon Lit; Polka Dot Blues; Te Reo o Papatuanuku; Summertime at Bamako; Destinos; Open the Door.

Personnel

Chantal Chamberland (1); Niuver (2); Blick Bassy (3); Kora Jazz Trio (4); Heather Rigdon (5); Kad (6); Sherele (7); Kataraina Pipi (8); Kélétigui Diabaté with Habib Koité and Bamada (9); Billy Cobham and Asere (10); Hugh Masekela with Malaika (11).

Album information

Title: Jazz Around The World | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Putumayo World Music


FOR THE LOVE OF JAZZ
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a champion of jazz since 1995, supporting it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

WE NEED YOUR HELP
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to rigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.

Post a comment about this album

Tags

More

The Pan American Nutcracker Suite
Joe McCarthy's Afro Bop Alliance Big Band
The Power Station Sessions
The Pat Petrillo Big Rhythm Band
Sera Niebla
Nicolas Politzer
Xaybu: The Unseen
Steve Lehman & Sélébéyone

Popular

Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and includes upcoming jazz events near you.