All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Ahmed Abdul-Malik: Jazz Sounds of Africa

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
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 2. The Hustlers 3. Oud BLues 4. La Ibkey 5. Don't Blame Me 6. Hannibal's Carnivals 7. Wakida Hena 8. African Bossa Nova 9. Nadusilma 10. Out of Nowhere 11. Communication 12. Suffering.

Personnel: Ahmed Abdul-Malik-bass, oud; Calo Scott-violin, cello; Tommy Turrentine-trumpet; Eric Dixon-tenor saxophone; Bilal Abdurrahman-clarinet, percussion, Korean reed instrument; Andrew Cyrille-drums; Richard Williams-trumpet; Edwin Steede-alto saxophone; Taft Chandler-tenor saxophone; Rupert Allenye-flute; Rudy Collins-drums; Montego Joe-conga, bongo; Chief Bey-African drum.

Title: Jazz Sounds Of Africa | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read All Melody CD/LP/Track Review
All Melody
by Phil Barnes
Published: March 23, 2018
Read The Future is Female CD/LP/Track Review
The Future is Female
by Paul Rauch
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Hunters & Scavengers CD/LP/Track Review
Hunters & Scavengers
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 23, 2018
Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read "From Silence to Somewhere" CD/LP/Track Review From Silence to Somewhere
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Ara" CD/LP/Track Review Ara
by Don Phipps
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Flesh & Bone" CD/LP/Track Review Flesh & Bone
by Troy Collins
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Disconnected" CD/LP/Track Review Disconnected
by Glenn Astarita
Published: November 3, 2017
Read "Honey And Salt" CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Fukushima" CD/LP/Track Review Fukushima
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 1, 2017