352

Various Artists: Jazz Around The World

Raul d'Gama Rose 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).

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Putumayo World Music | Style: Latin/World


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 "Noumenon" CD/LP/Track Review Noumenon
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1" CD/LP/Track Review Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Amorandom" CD/LP/Track Review Amorandom
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 3, 2016
Read "Playgrounds" CD/LP/Track Review Playgrounds
by Ian Patterson
Published: February 10, 2017
Read "Journey To The Heart" CD/LP/Track Review Journey To The Heart
by Jeff Winbush
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "North Star" CD/LP/Track Review North Star
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 2, 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!