Mulatu Astatke From New York to Addis Ababa: The Best of Mulatu Astatke
- Words: Jesse Serwer
- Label: Soundway
With Mulatu Astatke‘s signature tune "Yegelle Tezeta" making a star turn in Jim Jarmusch‘s Broken Flowers, now‘s a great time to collect some of the Ethiopian jazz great‘s works onto CD-even though the Ethiopiques series already did so a couple of years ago. About half the tracks here weren‘t on that comp, though, which is a good enough reason to check out some of the wildest, freest grooves in all of late ‘60s/early ‘70s swinging Africa. While anchored with Afro-Cuban rhythms and Jimmy Smith-style Hammond jazz, an eclectic array of instruments and the loose musicianship and howls of Astatke‘s backing band created a sound that today sounds strikingly surreal. With its discordant use of steel drums, "Asiyo Belema" sounds as ethereal as any early dub recording. Classic material.
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