Thursday, March 3, 2011
Eastern Jazz Obsession: Ahmed Abdul-Malik- Jazz Sahara (1958)
Here's the 1958 debut-as-leader of Ahmed Abdul-Malik, an oud player and double bassist who's thrown down with Art Blakey, Coltrane, Odetta, and Thelonius Monk, among others. These are enormous East-meets-West jams, with a much harder emphasis on Middle East instrumentation and style than American jazz, and relatively little exotica-style musical tourism. For 1958, this was some pretty authentic shit, and this record was a first exposure to these types of sounds for many American listeners.
Besides Malik on the oud, this record also features a kanoon, a darabeka, and a duf, all used to beautiful effect. The more typical "jazz" sound only rarely makes an appearance, with the occasional swooping solo from sax-bopper Johnny Griffin really beefing up the supreme coolness of the whole affair. It's a lovely piece of work, and nicely aggressive.
I got this originally from Big Fat Satanist, a blog which is long since no more. I know Jazz Sahara is still floating around on other blogs and such, but I was swinging pretty hard to it tonight and thought I should drop it at my spot. Get it if you don't already got it.