eMusic Review 0
This one-of-a-kind set samples instrumental works by arranger Mulatu Astatqè, a key player in Addis 'golden age of pop. Educated in music in London and New York, Astatqè returned to Addis with an awareness of American jazz and, equally importantly, Latin music. Jazz harmonies and arrangements applied to the dark modalities of Ethiopian traditional melodies result in the rebirth of cool as grand melancholy, and tunes sinister enough to animate the darkest of film noir nightmares. From "Yèkèrmo Sèw," with its echoes of Horace Silver, to the swinging 6/8 flute feature "Asmarina," and "Mètché Dershé" with its heavy, Latinesque piano vamp and lugubrious tenor sax, this volume is a treasure — 14 tracks filled with organ drones, wah-wah and fuzz-tone guitars, and some of the most inventive and memorable horn arrangements you'll ever hear.