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Prime Movers Blues Band, The – "Prime Movers Blues Band, The" – [Modern Harmonic]

aarbor   1/19/2022   A Library

Michael Erlewine and his brother Daniel formed the Primer Movers Blues Band in Southeastern Michigan during the summer of 1965. They had a series of players who rotated in and out of the band over the years. The most famous of whom was James Osterberg, better know as “Iggy Pop”. The liner notes are charming (and well worth reading) telling stories about Bob Dylan playing in Ann Arbor in 1961 and other notables they met. The best story is about how Osterberg came to be called “Iggy”. He played for a local frat band around town called The Iguanas. “We had no interest (and perhaps not enough respect) for frat bands, so when Jim Osterberg joined the Prime Movers, we wanted to remind him where he came from , so we called him “Iguana” for a while, until (to our satisfaction) he had paid his dues. That was soon shortened to “Iggy” and it just stuck. Jim liked the name too.” Iggy was the drummer in this band and worked hard to learn blues drumming. He mastered the double shuffle earning the respect of his bandmates. Only one original song on this album (track 1) the rest are covers. AArbor

Amadou & Mariam – "Welcome to Mali" – [Nonesuch]

aarbor   1/19/2022   A Library

Amadou and Mariam always have wonderful dark glasses on in their pictures because they have both been blind since childhood. Born in Bamako, Mali, they met at a school for the blind. Their music mixes traditional Mali sound with rock guitars, Syrian violins, Cuban trumpets, Egyptian ney, Indian tablas and Dogon percussion. In combination these elements have been called “Afro-blues”. This album was nominated for a Grammy. It is from 2008 which is close to the peak of their careers. The tracks show their versatility and their musicianship. AArbor

Ondar, Konar-ol – "Echoes of Tuva" – [Friends of Tuva]

aarbor   1/19/2022   A Library

There are 3 styles of Tuvan throat singing: Sygyt – a 2-note style where the mouth shape is er-ee (track 1), Hoomei -a 3 or sometimes 4 note style with mouth shape oh-oo (track 2), and Kargyraa – a 3 sometimes 4 note style with the mouth shape oh-ah (track 3,5 and most of 11) Ondar also sings other styles here. Ondar is an amazing singer. This recording was made in August 1995 at Pasadena City Hall Ondar sang inside the dome, and included a shamanic blessing for physicist Richard Feynman (track 11) who departed this life in 1988. Most tracks have magnificent throat singing (tracks 7-9 less noticeable).Wonderful jaws harp on track 4. Close your eyes and enjoy! AArbor

Guedra Guedra – "Vexillology" – [On the Corner]

aarbor   12/8/2021   CD, International

Guedra Guedra is the DJ name of Abdellah M. Hassak from Morocco who plays with the spiritual polyrhythms of gnawa, the looping vocalisations of Sufism and the percussive tessellations of Berber folk. The sounds of the North African cultures meet in the music of Morocco. These rhythms are the core of his work. The name Guedra Guedra comes from the Berber dance music performed on the guedra drum. Vexillology, his debut full length is 13 complex (and wonderful) tracks. Seven Poets samples a group chant over birdsong and snappy hi-hats that evoke footwork’s stacked rhythms – bringing together the dancefloors of Chicago and the desert-scape of Berber song. The Chicago sound also leaves its mark on the bouncy Stampede Step with its shrill flute melody and growling bassline, and Aura samples the chants of the Zayane mountain community: chopping their circular incantations over rumbling sub-bass, the effect renders them as verse with a kind of crowd sound. Instead of simply pasting decontextualised field recordings over bright electronics, Hassak integrates these folk elements into the mix and allows them to breathe. He incorporates the clatter of the bendir drum on the rollicking Aura, a smattering of hand claps over the house piano of Cercococcyx, and the shrill arpeggios of the taghanimt flute on the drum machine-heavy 40’ Feet. Not to be missed! AArbor

M'N'M Trio – "Halfway to Heaven" – [Stomp Off Records]

aarbor   12/8/2021   CD, Jazz

The M’n’M Trio is a clarinet, high tenor banjo and tuba (a couple of the players do vocals as well). Three well-seasoned musicians, great ensemble players and multi-talented (the tuba player is a pediatrician) have fun with 18 songs – some well-known and others not. It’s old timey, it’s klezmerish, it’s just fun – just play it. AArbor

Il Complesso Di Tada – “Il Complesso Di Tada” – [Record Kicks]

aarbor   12/8/2021   CD, International

Il Complesso Di Tada is a “super band” directed by Massimo Martellotta some special guests who are true national icons (in Italy) such as Elio from Elio e Le Storie Tese, Nina Zilli and Filippo Timi. Il Complesso di Tadà focuses on the grooviest and hip-shakingest side of Italian mid ’60s Italian TV Shows music. From the opening single, Piero Umiliani’s masterpiece, Mah Na Mah Na to the beat explosion of Il Surf Delle Mattonelle and Ma Che Colpa Abbiamo Noi to classic Italian treasures such as Sapore Di Sale and Guarda Che Luna, it’s a “super cool mid 60s experience”. The sound is tight, poppy and punchy, full of percussive rhythms, wild organs and groovy percussion. There are also some groovy instrumental tracks such as Veloce, Non Troppo, Allegro and Movimentato all composed by Massimo Martellotta, which reflect his admiration for one of the great Italian soundtrack composers Piero Umiliani. AArbor

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

Badmarsh & Shri – "Dancing Drums" – [Outcaste Records]

aarbor   11/17/2021   CD, International

Debut album by Badmarsh (Mohammed Akber Ali from Yemen) and Shri (Shrikanth Sriram from Mumbai, India) recorded in 1998 on Outcaste Records. Badmarsh (which means rascal in Hindi) is the “producer” and Shri is the drummer. The label created the group thinking their skills and sounds would work well together. The sound is drum ‘n bass, hip hop, Indian classical and jazz. “We wanted to make music that moved you on the dancefloor as well as at home. Everything had to be emotive, whether it made you angry or made you swoon. But it also had to be funky. We wanted it to be about feeling rather than thinking – that was our vision.” They definitely succeeded. AArbor

Tango Fusion Club Vol. 1 [coll] – [MDR Records]

aarbor   11/17/2021   CD, International

What Gotan Project started in 1999 with La Revancha del Tango, continues in both Europe and South America during the next decade: updating the sound of tango with electronic instruments and hip hop beats. The Tango Fusion Club formed in Munich in 2000 is a fine showcase of updated tango tracks. All tracks are worth playing, the standout is track 7 “Bandoneon Acorazado” which means fortified or armoured bandoneon. Bandoneon is the type of accordion used in tango bands. Not to be missed! AArbor

PAN Project – "PAN Project" – [Neuma]

aarbor   11/3/2021   CD, International

PAN Project is an ensemble rooted in the Chinese, Korean and Japanese music traditions. The word ‘Pan’ in the ensemble’s name is taken from the Korean music-storytelling tradition ‘pansori’ which means to gather. The PAN Project is about gathering and telling stories through music and performance. The tracks here draw on the intercultural music traditions of East Asian instrumental performance, ritual and theatre, as well as modern influences: improvisation, Western composition and technology. The PAN Project was co-founded and is co-directed by Korean piri master gamin and American composer-performer Jeff Roberts. The sound is timeless. It’s old, it’s new, it’s borrowed… AArbor

Fourth World Quartet – "1975" – [Cuneiform Records]

aarbor   11/3/2021   A Library, CD

The Fourth World Quartet is Ann Arbor’s Miller brothers: Roger, twins Ben and Laurence, plus their school friend Jack Waterstone. This quartet is not a traditional string quartet, or a traditional rock or jazz outfit. Instead Roger plays piano and percussion, Ben plays electric guitar and alto saxophone, Laurence plays bass clarinet, and Jack plays alto saxophone. Lots of reeds plus a guitar vs. piano and percussion. Each member of the quartet has composed at least 1 track on the album. [Track 9] Tnoona is Laurence’s arrangement of a Roscoe Mitchell piece and [Track 11] is Roger’s arrangement of Igor Stravinsky’s Renard the Fox. Transformation of Oz [track 3] was later recorded by Roger’s band Birdsongs of the Mesozoic. Recorded in 1975 and released this year on Cuneiform, this music is both composed and improvised. At the time, as Laurence tells it, they were engaged in freeform rock improvisations and had started their first all-original rock band Sproton Layer in 1969. They would see the MC5 at a free concert in the afternoon, then head over to the University of Michigan to hear Stockhausen at night. This is never-before heard music from a pivotal time period in their music development. The Fourth World Quartet knocks over some serious creative barriers – way ahead of its time. AArbor

Archimboldos, Los – "Starcave Memories" – [Nonlocal Research]

aarbor   10/27/2021   A Library, CD

Los Archimboldos is a duo from Chile formed in 2017 by producer and musician Nicolas Carcavilla a/k/a Embassador Dulgoon and Felipe Crocco (co-founder of the Nonlocal Research label. This is their first release from 2019; and the first release on this label. The initial limited edition CD-R release apparently has an encrypted map to the Starcaves (which I couldn’t find). There are 10 relatively short (all under 5 minute) tracks described as experimental, abstract and “future jazz”. AArbor

Yuseinov, Ateshkhan – "Strange Suite" – [Riverboat Records]

aarbor   10/27/2021   CD, International

“Atesh” Yuseinov is from Bulgaria where he is apparently a cult figure. He is an amazing guitar player and has cultivated his own style of playing: combining the fast rhythms and changes of Balkan folk music with the freedom of jazz, and even adding in a beatbox [track 8]. Track 7 is the only traditional track with Atesh’s wife Venera Todorova as the vocalist. [Don’t miss tracks: 1,2,6,8,9] AArbor

Dam – "Dedication" – [Red Circle Music]

aarbor   10/20/2021   CD, Hip Hop

DAM is a Palestinian hip-hop group based in Lod, Israel. Formed in 1999 by brothers Tamer and Suhell Nafar and friend Mahmoud Jreri, who are Arab citizens of Israel. They’ve spent over a decade performing globally. The music is a fusion of East and West combining Arabic rhythms, Middle Eastern melodies, and urban hip-hop vibes. This is their first release from 2006. You’ll hear an excerpt of a speech by President Nasser, children, oud, bouzouki, rap and conscious tell-it-like-it-is lyrics – that you probably can’t understand. The English lyrics are in the booklet. AArbor

MISCELLANEOUS [coll] – [Language]

aarbor   10/20/2021   A Library, CD

According to the insert this is: “Music for Open Minded People”. From 1995 this compilation is the first of 2 only releases in the Miscellaneous series on Crammed Discs’ sublabel: Language. Cool dark electronics with noise and plenty of good rhythmic fun from the likes of David Toop, Fantomas, Ian Pooley and Endemic Void plus others. AArbor

Altin Gun – "Yol" – [ATO Records]

aarbor   10/20/2021   CD, International

Third [2021] release from Altin Gun – an Amsterdam-based project founded in 2016 by Jasper Verhulst. They mix Turkish folk, psychedelia, funk and rock. Here they add instruments not heard before in their music: synth, congas, drum machines and a Suzuki Omnichord. Some songs are taken from archaic sources: “Yekte” [11] is a traditional song from the Anatolian city of Kayseri, while “Arda Boylar”[7] comes from a region of the Balkans that once formed part of the Ottoman Empire. Every song works in the neo-disco psych environment; the despondency of the folk melodies blends with glittering pop production creating a stream of gilded melancholy. The music sits somewhere between 19th century Ottoman Empire, ’60s Haight-Ashbury, the bubblegum boogie of ’80s New York, and today’s pop. AArbor

Uzel, Nezih – "Mevlana: Instrumental Mevlevi Music" – [Kent Elektronik]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, International

In Turkey, Rumi is fondly remembered by his followers as Mevlana — which means scholar. When he died in 1273, Rumi’s followers founded the Mevlevi Order, also known as the Order of the Whirling Dervishes, famous for the Sufi dance known as the Sema ceremony. The Mevlevi Ayin is a form of Ottoman art music that evolved around an organized religious ritual: the Whirling Dance ceremony of the Mevlevi Dervishes . It was based on musical composition and poetry, taking the form of an original cyclical suite format. The instruments which accompany Mevlevi music are: the Bendir – a wooden frame drum, the Oud (lute) and Ney (and end-blown flute). The Dervishes consider this kind of dance and music a form of meditation. The dervishes wear long white robes and very tall conical hats when they dance. Nezih Uzel was a very famous bendir player and dervish. He once said that this is music for participation rather than just listening. I was surprised by the gentleness and pace of this music which accompanies Whirling Dervish dance/meditations. AArbor

Shirley and Lee – "Complete Singles As & Bs 1952-1962, The" – [Acrobat Music]

aarbor   10/13/2021   CD, Soul

Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee were teenagers in New Orleans who were pioneers of the boy/girl R&B duo style in the early 1950s. Their biggest hit was “Let the Good Times Roll” [Disc 1 track 23]. They hardly ever harmonized. Instead they sang separate verses and choruses using a call-and-response style, mostly because Shirley’s voice was piercing, sat in a narrow range, and she often sang a bit sharp or flat – hard to harmonize with. They recorded at the important Cosimo Matassa’s J&M Studios which created the New Orleans R & B sound. Shirley and Lee were dubbed “The Sweethearts of the Blues” although the relationship they supposedly sang about in their songs (on CD1) may not have been real. I preferred CD2 for the better arrangements and more interesting songs. AArbor

Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues [coll] – [June Appal Recordings]

aarbor   10/13/2021   12-inch, Country

A history in song of the white (Southern) cotton mill workers and the mills they worked in. Brown Lung Cotton Mill Blues started at the end of the Civil War. Black people were excluded. Instead poor whites and especially women and children worked in these mills. Promises made by mill owners about schooling, good pay and realistic hours were broken. It was a tough life and the conditions were unsanitary, leading to TB. brown lung and other complaints. The workers unionized and had strikes in the 1920s and ’30s which eventually gained the attention of leaders like President Franklin Roosevelt. The music is largely Appalachian Southern song style with guitar, banjo and mandolin accompaniment. Learn the history you never learned in school through these songs. AArbor

Kondo, Toshinori – "Blow The Earth India" – [Subcontinental Records]

aarbor   10/6/2021   CD, Jazz

Toshinori Kondo, who departed this life last year, was a prolific Japanese composer, trumpet player and wanderer of the Earth. This release (from 2019) is a part of the series called “Blow the Earth” which he moved to Amsterdam to start in 1993. The film BLOW THE EARTH JAPAN came out in 2011 – it was his first project as a film director. He composed, performed and mixed all of the tracks on this album. After moving to New York in 1978, Kondo collaborated with many notable jazz musicians including: Bill Laswell, Eugene Chadbourne, Fred Frith, Ernaldo Bernocchi, John Zorn and Peter Brotzman. This is arguably one of his best releases. AArbor

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