eMusic Review 0
A marriage made in heaven, this latest installment in Strut's "Inspiration Information" series pairs Ethiopian oddball Mulatu Astatke with London-based astral jazz collective The Heliocentrics, in the company of a few well-chosen guests. The groundwork for the project was laid by the surprisingly effective chemistry that evolved between the two when they collaborated on a gig (after just one day's rehearsal!) in April 2008.
Astatke is best known as the most popular and accessible artist profiled by the mammoth Ethiopiques anthology, covering a brief but golden era of febrile innovation in Ethiopian pop music during the late '60s and early '70s. Wider exposure came with the inclusion of several of his songs in the soundtrack to the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers in 2005. He's widely acknowledged as the inventor of "Ethio-jazz," which combines the pentatonic scales of traditional Ethiopian music with American jazz, lent a distinctly loungy, Latin feel by his use of vibes and congas. For their part, the Heliocentrics playfully mash up influences as diverse as James Brown, David Axelrod and Sun Ra, whose album Heliocentric Worlds inspired their name.
Such is the meeting of musical minds here that it's sometimes hard to… read more »