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JeConte and Mali Allstars, The – “Mali Blues” – [Soulnow Records]

aarbor   6/22/2022   CD, International

They met at the Festival in the Desert: American JeConte (vocals and harmonica), harmonica player and rhythm guitarist Boubacar Sidibe, n’goni player and electric guitarist Adama Drame, percussionist and calabash player Mahamadou Kone and bassist Sekou Bah. This release was recorded in 2012 in Bamako, Mali during a coup d’etat. The intent is to preserve the music and culture of the people of Mali and to raise money to support them during a difficult time. The musicians are heavy hitters, the music is lovely but it’s a bit too shiny/overproduced and missing the grit of an authentic African recording. Some tracks sound bluesy but others are sound more like Afropop. AArbor

Sunny Side Up [coll] – [Brownswood Recordings]

aarbor   6/22/2022   A Library, CD

On Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Recordings label from the UK is this interesting collection of music from Australian/New Zealander artists which was released in 2019. Though not all of these musicians are from Melbourne, the scene they are a part of is centered there. The sound is at the intersection of jazz, soul and club beats. You’ll hear splashes of deep house, cha cha, samba, p-funk and soul with a jazz mindset as the common denominator. AArbor

Flock – “Flock” – [Strut]

aarbor   6/7/2022   A Library, CD

Flock is a brand new collaboration between five leading musicians from London’s open-minded jazz and experimental scenes: Bex Burch , Sarathy Korwar, Dan “Danalogue” Leavers , Al MacSween and Tamar Osborn. Each performer plays a variety of instruments here. They gathered in London during the Summer of 2020, with the intention of trying something fresh. Some of the band had never met in person before the session. Burch wrote texts as scores for the session and the emphasis was on breathing and listening to each other. The music was freely improvised. Sometimes they chose to stay on form and rhythm, repeating melodies and groove. Each track has its own sound even though the instrumentation is consistent. The playing is outstanding. Probably the best new jazz release I’ve heard this year. AArbor

DakhaBrakha – “Na Mezhi” – [Self-release]

aarbor   6/7/2022   CD, International

DakhaBrakha is a Ukrainian folk quartet which combines the musical styles of several ethnic groups.
Created at DAKh Center for Contemporary Art, DakhaBrakha is led by Vladyslav Troitskyi . It was born as a live theater music crew. Members of DakhaBrakha participate in the Centre’s other projects, notably in the all-female cabaret project Dakh Daughters. You’ll hear driving drum rhythms, cello and accordians played for rhythm and to create atmosphere. Their voices are lovely and haunting both in singing and building the mood of the music. Almost reminiscent of Les Mysteres des Voix Bulgares but more haunting in a very Slavic way. AArbor

Markley, Ben Big Band with Ari Hoenig – “Ari’s Funhouse” – [OA2 Records]

aarbor   6/1/2022   CD, Jazz

Ben Markley is a pianist, arranger, and leader of the Ben Markley Big Band, an ensemble known for their creative/daring takes on modern and contemporary jazz classics. Ari’s Funhouse is a big band album featuring the music of drummer Ari Hoenig, with Hoenig himself in the drum chair. Markley asked whether he could arrange Hoenig’s work. In the process they communicated regularly to maintain the integrity of the arrangements. Hoenig said, “When I first heard what he was working on the first thing that hit me was the quality and attention to detail he gave in each of the arrangements,” Hoenig says. “He really took the rhythmic language I use and included it in the arrangements while at the same time bringing in his creative unique voice.” In addition to great arranging the performers are very strong and deliver excellent performances. AArbor

Kahn, Daniel and The Painted Bird – “The Butcher’s Share” – [Oriente Musik]

aarbor   6/1/2022   CD, International

Daniel Kahn hails from Michigan, went of U of M, and now lives in Berlin. His band is called The Painted Bird – they play primarily klezmer style music. Kahn coined the word “Verfremdungsklezmer“, meaning “alienation klezmer music”, to describe their music. The group describes their music as “a mixture of Klezmer, radical Yiddish song, political cabaret and folk punk”, and it has been compared to the music of Tom Waits and Woody Guthrie. Some of the songs are written by Kahn, but many are adaptations of poems and songs by Jewish authors frequently with socio-political themes. AArbor

Mohammed ‘Jimmy’ Mohammed – “Takkabel!” – [Terp Records]

aarbor   6/1/2022   CD, International

Jimmy Mohammed is blind. He’s from Ethiopia and loves to sing the songs of Tlahoun Gessesse, one of the most famous heroes of Ethiopian music. Gessesse’s songs were his “main source of inspiration and comfort” during a very difficult early life. In Ethiopia the words of the songs matter more than the music, the arrangement or the singer’s voice. Here Jimmy is accompanied by Mesele Asmamaw on the electric Krar, a 6 stringed lyre/harp, Asnake Gebreyes on drums and backing vocals, Hen Bennink on drums and Getachew Mekuria on saxophone. AArbor

Talbot Brothers of Bermuda, The – “Talbot Brothers of Bermuda, The” – [Maaula Records]

aarbor   5/18/2022   12-inch, International

The Talbot Brothers of Bermuda were a musical group based in Bermuda that were among the most popular calypso performers of the 1950s. The band was composed of brothers Archie (lead singer, acoustic guitar, harmonica), Austin (acoustic guitar, harmonica), Bryan, a.k.a. “Dick” (tipple, a large, 10-stringed ukulele), Ross, a.k.a. “Blackie” (electric guitar) and Roy Talbot (bass), and their cousin Cromwell “Mandy” Mandres (accordion). Their sound is a variation of Trinidadian calypso in a smooth melodic style influenced by popular music. They performed and recorded cover versions of calypso classics in addition to their own originals, and were a popular attraction in local hotels. This record was originally released in 1958. AArbor

Spence, Joseph – “Encore: Unheard Recordings of Bahamian Guitar and Singing” – [Smithsonian Folkways]

aarbor   5/18/2022   12-inch, International

Joseph Spence, who died in 1984, was a Bahamian guitarist and singer. He is well known for his vocalizations and humming while playing the guitar. A number of musicians, including Taj Mahal, the Grateful Dead, Ry Cooder, and Olu Dara,were influenced by and have recorded variations of his arrangements of gospel and Bahamian songs. Spence played calypso, blues, folk music and sacred songs. He played a steel-string acoustic guitar. Nearly all of his recorded songs have a guitar accompaniment in a drop D tuning. You’ll hear his magnificent voice (singing and kind of scat singing) moving bass lines, interior voices and a driving beat that he emphasized with foot tapping. He adds blues coloration and calypso rhythms to achieve a unique and easily identifiable sound. This album from 2021 is the latest recording to be released of his work, making a total of 4 released after his death. His sister Edith Pinder and her family also sing on some of the songs here. The recordings are from 1965 (the peak of his career) his only New York concert, at his cottage in Nassau, Bahamas, and at Peter Siegel’s (producer/recording engineer) apartment in Manhattan. AArbor

Karloff, Boris – “Reading Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories and Other Tales” – [Caedmon]

aarbor   5/18/2022   12-inch, A Library

Boris Karloff (whose real name was William Henry Pratt b. 1887), best known for his portrayal of Frankenstein’s monster in the various early Frankenstein movies. Here he is the kindly British story reader of Rudyard Kipling’s well-known JUST SO STORIES. The Kipling stories here are How the Whale Got His Throat, How the Camel Got His Hump and How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin. The B side is an abridged version of Mowgli’s Brothers from THE JUNGLE BOOK. AArbor

Stowell, John / Glenn, Dave and the Hawcaptak Quartet – “Violin Memory” – [Origin Records]

aarbor   5/11/2022   CD, Jazz

John Stowell is a guitar player and Dave Glenn a trombone player. They have played together in various settings including as a duo – an interesting pairing. This recording has 21 tracks, most of which are pairs: An Intro played by the Hawcaptak Quartet and the paired track played by Stowell and Glenn. John Stowell wrote most of the pieces and Dave Glenn arranged most of the string quartet versions. I hear the string quartet Intros as the Yin (melodious and feminine) to the Stowell/Glenn duo’s Yang (trombone grounded and masculine). AArbor

Fila Brazillia – “Black Market Gardening” – [Pork Recordings]

aarbor   5/11/2022   A Library, CD

Fila Brazillia is the duo of Dave “Man” Mc Sherry and Steve Cobby based in Kingston Upon Hull, Yorkshire, UK who started recording together in 1990. This album is from 1996 and is among their earliest recordings on the Pork label (also based in Hull). They later started their own label called Twentythree Records. This is classic downtempo from the mid 1990’s. “Snake Ranger”[2] is wavering synths and a chorus of flutes, “Little Dipper”[3] starts off with an old-time piano sample before shifting into something more funky. “Wigs, Bifocals and Nurishment”[6] heads into disco territory. “Xique-Xique”[7] is smooth and sweet. AArbor

Barrio Manouche – “Aires de Cambio” – [doubleOone]

aarbor   5/11/2022   CD, International

Barrio Manouche is a very international acoustic ensemble from San Francisco. They play music inspired by the places they come from and have lived: Spain, France, Brazil, French Canada and the U.S. Their music is also inspired by those who have come before and their nomadic spirits. They use music to describe the world as they see it. Of note here is “musical guest” Mallar Bhattacharya (sarod) and Hilan Chaudhuri (tabla) who join them on the title track [5]. This is their first recording from 2018. Barrio Manouche has been recognized for its surprise concerts, innovative style, complex technique, and its passion for musical improvisation. Their intercultural musical fusions start with Latin/French Jazz and then add in Brazilian beats, a bit of Flamenco and even Indian music. AArbor

Les Filles de Illighadad – “At Pioneer Works” – [Sahel Sounds]

aarbor   4/27/2022   CD, International

Les Filles de Illighadad, Tuareg women who play guitars and combine both tendé (women’s music) with the guitar music played by their male neighbors, have graced our airwaves since their first album. This album, recorded in 2019 in Red Hook (Brooklyn), NY at the Pioneer Works arts center – rather than out of doors in North Africa, is their latest offering. The sound is meditative, but tender. It takes Tuareg guitar music (sometimes called desert blues) brought to the West by breakthrough artists from the region like Mdou Moctar, Bombino and Tinariwen, and fuses it with tendé. The result is repetitive and hypnotic, and conveys something spiritual and solemn but also has a sense of joy and playfulness that goes back to the music’s roots in village life. AArbor

Zeshan B – “Vetted” – [Minty Fresh]

aarbor   4/27/2022   Blues, CD

First generation Indian-American Zeshan Bagewadi grew up in Chicago singing as a cantor in his mosque, then in high school joined the gospel choir – which changed his life. Even though he trained as an opera singer, he’s left Western classical music behind in favor of Memphis R&B, Chicago blues and there’s even a jolt of raw South Asian soul. He sings and plays the harmonium, lives in the South Bronx, made his TV debut on the Late Show w/ Stephen Colbert. Singers he idolizes are: Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, Curtis Mayfield, and Donny Hathaway. On this, his debut album, you’ll find cover versions and originals dealing with frequent soul-music concerns such as lust, alienation and resistance. George Perkins’ response to Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral was the song “Cryin’ in the Streets”; Zeshan’s version speaks to the era of #BlackLivesMatter Vetted also includes “Meri Jaan” (My Baby), a sexy original sung in Urdu, and “Ki Jana” (Who Knows), a 200-year-old Sufi poem in Punjabi. Horns and strings also accommodate a droning tanbur and harmonium in Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City,” which Zeshan opens with an improvisatory Indian-classical alap. He says “India and Pakistan have their own type of soul music that’s not as commercialized as Bollywood. It’s down-home, raw, and visceral, especially in Pakistan, where most of the population lives in abject poverty. People sing about unrequited love, urban despair, and oppression – just like here. It’s all about that feel, that groove, bro. It comes from a deep place. I’m into all music that serves a greater purpose, whatever that may be.” AArbor

Moondog – “More Moondog/The Story of Moondog” – [Prestige/New Jazz]

aarbor   4/13/2022   CD, Jazz

Moondog is Louis Thomas Hardin b. 1916 in Marysville, KS. He grew up amidst Native Americans in Wyoming and began his career as a Manhattan street musician during World War II. He lost his sight at age 17 due to an accident with a dynamite cap. I first heard him as a preschooler in NY on a record I had. I later saw him on the street in NY and was fascinated by his Viking costume. I bravely walked up and told him that he was on a record I had. Some bits of the percussion from that record are found here and there on this release which includes 30 tracks of his 2nd and 3rd Prestige releases. This is sounds of NY: the tugboats, ocean liners, people on the streets, instruments real and invented, dances in different time signatures. I love it because it’s part of my childhood in sound and it’s Moondog’s world. AArbor

Jones, Boogaloo Joe – “Boogaloo Joe Jones” – [Prestige/New Jazz]

aarbor   4/13/2022   CD, Jazz

Ivan Joseph “Boogaloo Joe” Jones (b. 1940) is an American jazz guitarist. These recordings are from August 1969 and February 1970 re-released as part of the Legends of Acid Jazz series in 1996. These tracks are a part of early “acid jazz” which incorporated psychedelic elements into jazz in the form of percussion and electronic dance beats. Boogaloo adds a bit of funk and soul too. Track 4 quotes audibly from Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love”. Track 9 is wonderfully funky. Jones was a session musician for the Prestige label at the time of this recording. AArbor

Trovesi, Gianluigi and Coscia, Gianni – “In Cerca di Cibo” – [ECM Records GmbH]

aarbor   4/6/2022   CD, International

The unlikely ensemble of clarinet and accordion is what you have here. Gianluigi Trovesi plays clarinets of all sizes and Gianni Coscia plays accordion. It’s kind of a union of jazz and folk music – jazzed up versions of well-known Italian folk melodies. Umberto Eco, who wrote the liner notes, an essay called “Devils in Music”, says “Coscia and Trovesi know how to contaminate a piece without damaging its unity and without sacrificing the listener’s chances of recognizing the [original].” I don’t get all the musical references but you can enjoy the music without getting them. btw In Cerca di Cibo means looking for food. AArbor

Humeniuk, Pawlo – “King of The Ukrainian Fiddlers” – [Arhoolie Productions]

aarbor   4/6/2022   CD, International

Pawlo Humeniuk was born in Western Ukraine but emigrated to the U.S. around 1902 when he was about 18. He was a terrific fiddler and in demand to play at Ukrainian social events especially weddings. He made at least 250 recordings. These recordings were made in New York from 1925-1927 and feature quite a bit of wedding-related music. Arhoolie have done a great job of documenting what each piece is called and how it fits into the context of the event. Track 13 is one of Humeniuk’s most celebrated recordings. Track 21 is a very well-loved melody in the Ukraine. Different groupings of instruments both traditional Ukrainian and orchestral, can be heard on each track. AArbor

Shner, Idit and Mhondoro – “Heat Wave” – [OA2 Records]

aarbor   4/6/2022   CD, Jazz

Idit Shner is sax player from Israel, John Mambira is a traditional musician from Zimbabwe, the rest of the crew are all from Oregon (where they live today). From backyard jams and living room recording sessions during the pandemic came the song Fingerprints [7] and then the other 6 tracks of this release. Mhondoro means “the lion spirit’ in Shona (a Zimbabwe language). A band and release born of the pandemic Shner and Mambira were in a “parent pod” (their children attended online school together). It’s global and hyper-local jazz – how American. AArbor

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