ponedjeljak, 31. ožujka 2014.

Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends - Y'Anbessaw Tezeta (2012)

Y'Anbessaw Tezeta cover

Etiopljanin se jako nježno sjeća kako je 65 godina slušao i svirao jazz.

Quite unexpectedly, last year, while here in Europe for several summer festivals, Getatchew Mekuria at the age of 76, expressed an urge to make one more recording. With The Ex. Probably the last one in his life. A great responsibility!
We recorded in December, in Wormerveer and Addis Abeba. The result is stunning. Deep, old, classic melodies. Very different from the last one. Instrumental, more sensitive and fragile, deeper. Amazing horn riffs and solos, but also danceable, with up-tempo war-chants. Many things. He called it “Y'Anbessa Tezeta” (In Memory Of The Lion). Memories of 65 years of playing music! But also always new and forward.
But there is more. We wanted to make something special. We added an extra CD, with some historical recordings, including Getatchew and the Instant Composers Pool (ICP), Haile Selassie 1 Theatre Orchestra (1960!) and a live performance with The Ex in Montreal. Plus a 40-page booklet with great photos by many photographers. Matias Corral specially came to Addis to shoot some Getatchew portraits in addition to his already striking black + white live photos. We decided to make this a benefit CD for Getatchew. Everyone contributed for free. After almost 65 years of playing music, we thought this amazing person deserves some kind of pension!
The first time we met Getatchew was early 2004. We were intrigued by his music which we knew from an old cassette. What an original sound! We went to Addis to find him. Getatchew agreed right away to come to Holland for our 25th anniversary party in Amsterdam in November 2004. He played with the ICP and he loved it, but he was also intrigued by The Ex and wanted to play and record with us. We invited some great horn players and things have never stopped since. We recorded the “Moa Anbessa” CD and in some eight years we've done almost a hundred concerts in 15 countries; jazz, world music and rock festivals, and venues all over the world. Lincoln Centre Out of Doors in New York, the French 8 o'clock news with 8 million viewers, Rio Loco in Toulouse to 20.000 people and broadcasted on TV in Ethiopia. - www.terprecords.nl/

Many years ago, when I first listened to the Ethopiques series, I was baffled by the musical quality, and the incredibly compelling power of the music, with long lyrical themes and hypnotic repetitive and highly danceable rhythms. The series gave a historical overview of Ethiopian jazz, with the ones with Mulatu Astatqe being my favorite. 
The genre also captivated the attention of Western musicians, with Russ Gershon's EitherOrchestra releasing a double live CD with Mulatu Astatqe on the same series. Saxophonist Michael Blake also covered an Astatqe tune on his "Elevated" CD, called "Addis Abeba". The sounds of Ethiopian jazz also resonate in the various "Angles" albums, led by Martin Küchen. 
The album under review here is also easy to recommend. The musician is tenor saxophonist Getatchew Mekuria, born in 1938, and someone who evolved in parallel to free jazz, without knowing about Ayler or Ornette Coleman, creating his own breed of improvised music.
In 2006; the Dutch band The Ex invited him for a joint album, which sounds OK but nothing more, with too much emphasis on the rock or punk sound of the Europeans.
Not so on this album, which is superior on every level. First of all, the band is bigger and consists of better musicians, including Arnold de Boer on trumpet, Terrie Hessels and Andy Moor on guitar, Katherina Bornefeld on drums, Xavier Charles on clarinet, Ken Vandermark on baritone saxophone and bass clarinet,  Brodie West on alto saxophone, Joost Buis and Wolter Wierbos on trombone, and Colin McLean on bass.
Second, because of this, the sound is full, warm, accessible and guaranteed to suck you in and keep you captivated till the last note has died out.
Third, the music itself is mainly the Ethopian real compositions, with The Ex just adding support rather than determining the sound, or forcing the saxophonist to play on the simpler rock base.
As I said : easy to recommend : great tunes, great playing, great fun. - Stef www.freejazzblog.org/

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