Album Review

Ragab, Salah & The Cairo Jazz Band – "Egypt Strut" – [Strut]

aarbor   12/8/2021   12-inch, International

Salah Ragab was an Egyptian drummer and bandleader. While serving in the Egyptian army, Ragab tried to form a jazz band with American saxophonist Mac X. Spears in the early 1960s, but Spears left the country soon after. At a concert by Randy Sexton, Ragab befriended German diplomat Hartmut Geerken and Eduard Vizvari, and they became the Cairo Jazz Band. In his work for the military’s department of music Ragab selected musicians to join the big band and taught them jazz. The Cairo Jazz Band performed for the first time at American University in 1969, performing original works in addition to music by Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie, then in Alexandria and Cairo. The band recorded in the early 1970s. Geerken invited Sun Ra, who made a few visits to Egypt. Ragab performed with Ra in 1971 and 1983. Ra recorded two of Ragab’s songs: “Dawn” and “Egypt Strut” (both on this record). This is the Strut re-release of an important record – it’s his first of 3. Like many other jazz recordings made around the world during the 1960s and ’70s “it refracts the language of jazz through the prism of local traditions”, culture, politics, history… AArbor

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