Friday, December 7, 2012

Ahmed Abdul-Malik - Jazz Sahara

Around the time Ahmed Abdul-Malik was providing the backing groove to some of Thelonious Monk's greatest bebop recordings, the Brooklyn-born native was also experimenting with traditional Middle Eastern and North African instrumentation in his own jazz compositions. During the late fifties and early sixties, Abdul-Malik released a number of groundbreaking recordings like Jazz Sahara, East Meets West, Sounds of Africa and Eastern Moods of Ahmed Abdul-Malik that incorporated non-Western musical elements into jazz. Not only did he play acoustic bass on many of these recordings, but he also played the oud, which is a pear-shaped stringed instrument commonly used in Greek, Arabic, Byzantine, North African and Middle Eastern music. These records, in my opinion, are some of the best to incorporate the sounds and influences from Africa and the Middle East into jazz. Truly unique and inspiring!

Ahmed Abdul-Malik - El Haris (Anxious)


andujar said...

Abdul-Malik is long a favorite of mine and these records are certainly, as you say, among the best, but also among the earliest fusions of this kind. This guy contributes on bass or oud on many great recordings with the likes of Monk, Randy Weston, Coltrane, Odetta, Herbie Mann, Blakey, Earl Hines and many others. When I was fortunate enough to have Randy Weston on my radio show we talked a bit about this man and the Brooklyn neighborhood that these and so many greats came from. Thanks for the great music you post here. PS-I have yet to ever hear from the Abdul-Malik LPs "Spellbound" or "Eastern Moods" so I look forward to possible posts on those in the future. Thanks! --DJ Andujar

Pat Les Stache said...

Thanks Andujar for commenting on the post (definitely something I would like to see from others on this site). When I read Randy Weston's autobiography a while ago, he talked about playing with Abdul-Malik and how he was a very instrumental musician in fusing the African and Middle Eastern sound with jazz. Everytime I see Randy Weston play live I always feel like I could just hear him tell stories for days about his music, Africa, and just about anything else. Therefore I can imagine how interesting that conversation must have been. Anyways, thanks again for checking in, saying hello, and supporting the site.

Juan Maria said...

still can´t find Spellbound,since I heard Body and Soul in allmusic`s preview. Any hints? Thanks

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