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Ahmed Abdul-Malik

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Bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik was one of the first musicians to introduce Arabic music into jazz and the first to use the oud, a pear-shaped, traditional Middle Eastern stringed instrument similar to a lute as a jazz instrument. He was born on January 30th 1927 to Sudanese parents in Brooklyn and grew up in the borough’s Arab neighborhood. According the most recent edition of the Rough Guide to Jazz he did not change his name to Ahmed Abdul-Malik in the mid- 50s but was given that name at birth. He started studying music at age 7; first violin then bass, piano and even tuba. His first jobs as a musician were when he was still a teenager and included symphony orchestras and different ethnic weddings

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Article: Year in Review

John Sharpe's Best Releases of 2021

Read "John Sharpe's Best Releases of 2021" reviewed by John Sharpe


Whether due to pent up creative energy or release schedules making up for lost time, more terrific music has come my way than for several years, in spite of the last twelve months. From the 200 or so discs that I heard in 2021, here are ten new issues (in the order I came across them), ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Hard Bop: Ten Essential Live Albums

Read "Hard Bop: Ten Essential Live Albums" reviewed by Chris May


"Fire! That's what people want. Music is supposed to wash away the dust of everyday life. You're supposed to make them turn around, pat their feet. That's what jazz is about. Play with fire. Play from the heart, not from your brain. You got to know how to make the two meet." So ...

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Article: Album Review

John Coltrane: Chasin' The Trane Revisited

Read "Chasin' The Trane Revisited" reviewed by Chris May


A high-tide moment in jazz history, John Coltrane's November 1-5 1961 engagement at New York's Village Vanguard was exhaustively documented on a series of Impulse albums during the 1960s and 1990s. Those discs have now, in autumn 2021, been supplemented by the Swiss-based ezz-thetics label's magnificent Chasin' The Trane Revisited. Before examining the new ...

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Article: Interview

Richard Brent Turner on Islam, Jazz and Black Liberation

Read "Richard Brent Turner on Islam, Jazz and Black Liberation" reviewed by Lawrence Peryer


Richard Brent Turner is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies and the African American Studies Program at the University of Iowa. Since joining the faculty in 2001, Professor Turner has authored several books, including Jazz Religion, The Second Line, and Black New Orleans, New Edition (Indiana University Press, 2016), and Islam in the African-American Experience, ...

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Article: Festivals Talking

Moers Festival Interviews: Pat Thomas

Read "Moers Festival Interviews: Pat Thomas" reviewed by Martin Longley


In 2020, the Moers Festival in Germany presented one of the first full post-lockdown events, with its performers physically in place, and its four-day programme resolutely running in the accustomed Eventhalle venue. There was a stage at each end of this cavernous space, with the French-German Arte television crew filming for broadcast on its channel, as ...

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Article: Album Review

[Ahmed]: Nights on Saturn (communication)

Read "Nights on Saturn (communication)" reviewed by Troy Dostert


When [Ahmed] released its debut album, Super Majnoon (Otoroku), in 2019, it provided not only an opportunity to revisit the under-heralded work of pathbreaking bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik. It also offered a bewildering, sometimes intoxicating stew of improvisation that relied equally on minimalist repetition and deeply-rooted grooves. This intrepid team of European musicians, consisting of saxophonist Seymour ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Yusef Lateef: An Alternative Top Ten Albums Blowing Cultural Nationalism Out Of The Water

Read "Yusef Lateef: An Alternative Top Ten Albums Blowing Cultural Nationalism Out Of The Water" reviewed by Chris May


A pioneer of global and modal jazz, the multi-instrumentalist and composer Yusef Lateef is only beginning to have his importance in the history of the music properly acknowledged. After languishing off-catalogue for decades, much of his output is being made available once more. A treasure trove of great jazz is out there waiting to be rediscovered. ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten

Read "Riverside Records: An Alternative Top Ten" reviewed by Chris May


From 1953, when it was set up, to 1964, when it was acquired by ABC, Riverside Records rivalled Blue Note and Prestige as one of the leading independent jazz labels based in New York City. The founders of all three labels were jazz fans who operated on slim margins and became producers partly because they enjoyed ...

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Article: Under the Radar

The New Golden Age of Jazz Radio

Read "The New Golden Age of Jazz Radio" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


There was the Jazz Age, and later, the Golden Age of Radio. There was no golden age of jazz radio unless one considers the brief, ten-year reign of devolution when swing music dominated the airwaves. Think about this: New York City has not had a twenty-four-hour commercial jazz radio station in over ten years; decades longer ...


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