290

Ahmed Abdul-Malik: Jazz Sounds of Africa

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
Ahmed Abdul-Malik: Jazz Sounds of Africa A top sideman with Monk and Herbie Mann, bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik must have realized that if he remained parochial it would result in complacency. Early in his career, he chose to explore his Sudanese roots and an association with pianist Randy Weston, known for his own Afro-Jazz blending, perhaps nourished this inclination. During these inquiries, he mastered the oud (a stringed instrument for the Arab world which is the equivalent in popularity to the guitar and piano combined for us here in the West), and in 1958 released Jazz Sahara, the first of six LPs that are primordial examples of Mideastern/African infused jazz.

Subsequently, Abdul-Malik was recruited for the 1961 Village Vanguard sessions to augment the Eastern essence of John Coltrane's "India." That same year, The Music of Ahmed Abdul- Malik was released, followed by 1962's Sounds of Africa. Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder, both sessions are packaged together here as Jazz Sounds of Africa.

The '61 session is the more majestic for its deceptive simplicity. Commencing with the crisp sound of "young" Brooklyn drummer Andrew Cyrille's cymbals and snare, an intriguing rhythm is set up for the captivating instrumentation of "Nights on Saturn." Bilal Abdurrahman plays an unknown Korean reed instrument off the still modern sounding percussion to alert the listener of things in store. "La Ibkey" has Cyrille drumming in 7/4 while oud, trumpet and cello alternatively solo in a disparate signature. "Oud Blues" is as its title suggests, while "Don't Blame Me" places Scott front and center over a wonderfully restrained drum and bass rhythm for an uncommon example of early jazz cello. "Hannibal's Carnivals" and "The Hustlers" begin with a West African Highlife welcome that soon gives way to the straight ahead sax of Basie tenor man Eric Dixon. Both pieces stylistically oscillate and present a multicultural celebratory feast.

Remaining cuts continue the previous year's explorations with a greatly expanded rhythmic feel, courtesy of percussionists Montego Joe and Chief Bey. "Communication" bears special mention for its extended trance-like percussion workout, while "Suffering," the CD closer, is timeless. A hypnotic brass and percussive rhythm is joined by Abdul-Malik's driving bass as Calo Scott plays an out-of-tune violin. Rupert Alleyne's flute lends a distinctive African feel and then gives way to a halting oud and ensuing trumpet. Scott then brings things full circle in more ways than one. With this release, these historically important and presently influential sessions have finally been given their due.


Track Listing: 1. Nights on Saturn (Abdul-Malik) - 7:34 2. The Hustlers (Abdul-Malik) - 5:34 3. Oud Blues (Abdul-Malik) - 4:09 4. La Ibkey (Abdul-Malik) - 5:52 5. Don't Blame Me (Fields/McHugh) - 7:28 6. Hannibal's Carnivals (Abdul-Malik) - 4:40 7. Wakida Hena (Abdul-Malik) - 3:53 8. African Bossa Nova (Abdul-Malik) - 6:00 9. Nadusilma (Abdul-Malik) - 4:00 10. Out of Nowhere (Green/Heyman) - 5:00 11. Communication (Abdul-Malik) - 9:46 12. Suffering (Abdul-Malik) - 5:13

Personnel: Andrew Cyrille - Drums; Tommy Turrentine - Trumpet; Montego Joe - Bongos, Conga; Bilal Abdurrahman - Clarinet, Percussion, Reeds, Darbouka; Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Bass, Oud; Rupert Alleyne - Flute; Chief Bey - African Drums; Taft Chandler - Tenor Sax; Rudy Collins - Drums; Eric Dixon - Tenor Sax. Calo Scott - Violin, Cello Richard Gene Williams - Trumpet

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Argonautica" CD/LP/Track Review Argonautica
by Troy Collins
Published: November 14, 2016
Read "Welcome Back" CD/LP/Track Review Welcome Back
by John Sharpe
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "Istanbul Underground" CD/LP/Track Review Istanbul Underground
by James Nadal
Published: June 22, 2016
Read "Left" CD/LP/Track Review Left
by John Sharpe
Published: November 22, 2016
Read "The Declaration of Musical Independence" CD/LP/Track Review The Declaration of Musical Independence
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 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!