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Sosala 30 Years Ago: No-wave Improv With Powerful Messages


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Sohrab’s aka SoSaLa music is honest and fierce taking no prisoners. It should be mandatory in school and club situations.
—David Liebman
SoSaLa has released a retrospective recording which looks back to 1993; when music was made at a special time and with special musicians.

For fans who are interested in SoSaLa’s interesting and accomplished music career, this retrospective album is a must. The music on this album comes from the No Wave and post-No Wave scenes in New York, and out of the free jazz scene. There is a very distinct connection here between harmolodics and bands such as Live Skull, John Lurie and the Lounge Lizards, and James Chance and the Contortions.

On this album, SoSaLa seamlessly blends Harmolodic free-jazz and no-wave rock in a way that enhances every element the music draws on. The succinct song structures provide a perfect foil for his masterful improvisations on the soprano saxophone and flute (not to mention his work on the organ). The contributions by the other musicians on the sessions bring unique dimensions and startling voices to enhance an already compelling and potent mix. The music sits well with rock and jazz, and at the same time transcends both.

SoSaLa (a.k.a. Sohrab Saadat Ladjevardi—whom Ornette Coleman, one of SoSaLa’s mentors, described as “the freest rock saxophonist” is a saxophonist / composer / improviser who has lived and performed in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and the US. He has performed and / or recorded as a leader with his own bands (SoSaLa, Alef, SADATO, The Tehran-Dakar Brothers, etc.) and with Salif Keita, Burnt Sugar & The Arkestra Chamber, Mandingo Ambassadors, and many others. He produced several independent releases, publishes the online magazine DooBeeDooBeeDoo, and founded and leads the non-profit musicians rights orgnization Musicians For Musicians (MFM) .

Apart from being a limited edition CD and a digital release, SoSaLa 1993 is unique in SoSaLa’s discography. All the tracks, which are unusually short for free jazz-inspired music, were composed on the spot during the recording session at BC Studios (engineered and mixed by Martin Bisi). It was a first in many ways. The recording was the only one in SoSaLa’s discography where he didn’t play the tenor saxophone, and the first time he played the organ.

It is the first to feature two guitarists, and feature NY indie rock musicians. Apart from SADATO alumnist Toshimaru Nakamura, it was the first time they’d played together. The interplay between the two guitars creates a fascinating counterpoint. Peter Gordon’s tenor saxophone produces a noticeable contrast to SoSaLa’s tenor work on his other recordings, and has a very expressive and dada- esque quality. The presence of Gordon’s jaw harp on “Khodahafez (Good Bye)” is an unexpected surprise. David Motamed played bass on all but one of the tracks His work brought a sense of tranquility and peacekeeping into the tumultuous chaos of the overall sound. His bass lines articulated hope for an existential solution.

Half of the tracks have no drums. SoSaLa uses the deliberate absence of drums to evoke interesting moods in the music. Additionally, it is the only SoSaLA recording to feature spoken word performances in four languages (English, German, Japanese, and Farsi). Despite SoSaLa being neither a singer nor a poet, the spoken word performances eloquently demonstrate the message of each track and heighten its dramatic effects.

The cover photos are the work of SoSaLa. Like the other two previous CD covers, SoSaLa shot the moon with his iPhone from his bedroom’s window late at night. This continuous visual theme of the moon says that while life goes on, the moon’s appearance and status will never change. With this in mind the cover is truthful to the title and quality of the album.

As of this writing, a video of the track “Omar Khayyam in NY” is in the works with SoSaLa as the producer and Mark C as the videographer and editor.

A album release concert is planned for Fall/Winter 2023.

Track Listing

  • Vor Geschlossener Tur (In Front of a Closed Door) (3:10)
  • I’m Blind (2:27)
  • Dadada Dadada Daaa (4:24)
  • Vor Deiner Tur (In Front of Your Door) (2:47)
  • So What (3:59)
  • Omar Khayyam in New York (3:12)
  • You Want to Be a Sex Star (3:00)
  • Khodahafez (Good Bye) (2:01)

More Quotes

“Yeah, I listened to it. It rocks! Punk, jazz, not dead!” —Marc Ribot

“Listening now!! BLOWN AWAY!!!! Fuckin’ Brilliant.” —Arturo O’Farrill

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