Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

288

Ras Deshen: Ras Deshen: From Ethiopian Music to Contemporary Jazz

By

Sign in to view read count
Given the considerable number of African Jews living in Ethiopia, it makes perfect cultural sense for Israeli pianist Yitzhak Yedid to team up with Ethiopian sax man and vocalist Abatte Barihun to explore the music of Ethiopia on Ras Deshen, a work which mines the common musical ground shared by their countries. Yedid and Abatte performed selections from the disc recently at a reception at Alice Tully Hall and didn't let the crowd's lack of attentiveness diminish the passion of their playing.

The opening "Anchi Hoye, written by Abatte, is named for one of the four modes of Ethiopian music. Abatte plays the tenor with a measured tension and clear tenderness that manages to reference both Pres and Trane. Yedid's brooding timbre, interior dialogue and chord progressions are so reminiscent of Keith Jarrett that his solo could be dropped seamlessly into the grooves of The Köln Concert.

On "Batti, Abatte enhances his soprano saxophone with soaring vocals in Amharic. When he performed this song at the reception, his voice cut through the conversation and, at least momentarily, demanded everyone's attention. Abatte's tenor on "Yehar Shererit has a palpable R&B/gospel tinge, with an occasional gutbucket growl added for good measure, working in tandem with Yedid's playful boogie-woogie chaos. "Fikir is a beautifully ruminative discourse that sounds quite Middle Eastern in its execution, with Abatte's serpentine tenor weaving around Yedid's lush, symphonic piano riffs.

Yedid lays out on "Birtukane, giving the floor to Fentahon Malessa on krar, an Ethiopian lyre that sounds close to a guitar and gives the music another rich dimension. On "Ambassel, another modal tune, Abatte solos powerfully over Malessa's repeated figure. Yedid lays out again and one can only wonder how all three instruments would have sounded together.

Perhaps the disc's most arresting tune, however, is "Behatito Kadus Kadus. With Yedid vamping in a Fats Waller vein, Abatte lifts his voice again and could be singing about a hellhound on his trail, instead of invoking a prayer. Abatte's tenor grooves between Ethiopia and the Mississippi Delta, ending this excellent disc on a high note.

Track Listing: Anchi Hoye; Batti; Yehar Shererit; Fikir; Birtukane; Nafkote; Ambassel; Behatito Kadus Kadus.

Personnel: Yitzhak Yedid: piano; Abatte Barihun: saxophone and voice; Fentahon Malessa: krar.

Title: Ras Deshen: From Ethiopian Music to Contemporary Jazz | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: AB

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Live at Pyatt Hall CD/LP/Track Review Live at Pyatt Hall
by Jack Bowers
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Flying Heart CD/LP/Track Review Flying Heart
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 23, 2018
Read The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow CD/LP/Track Review The 3Dom Factor: Live in Krakow
by John Sharpe
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Solano Canyon CD/LP/Track Review Solano Canyon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: January 23, 2018
Read Lucas CD/LP/Track Review Lucas
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: January 22, 2018
Read In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording CD/LP/Track Review In Paris: The Definitive ORTF Recording
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 22, 2018
Read "The Romeo and Juliet Project" CD/LP/Track Review The Romeo and Juliet Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 23, 2017
Read "Music in the Room" CD/LP/Track Review Music in the Room
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 10, 2017
Read "King For A Day" CD/LP/Track Review King For A Day
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 3, 2017
Read "Extremophile" CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Eyles
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Morphogenesis" CD/LP/Track Review Morphogenesis
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 12, 2017
Read "The Answer Is No" CD/LP/Track Review The Answer Is No
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 28, 2017