Revolutionary work from one of the most important talents you never heard of! Ahmed Abdul-Malik’s greatest claim to fame was his work as Thelonious Monk’s bassist at the end of the 50s, but his records on his own stretch far far past Monk’s own modernism — which is really saying a lot! Abdul-Malik’s musical interests stretched far beyond the New York scene of which he was a part — into the rich musical traditions of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East — the last of which was especially important, as Abdul-Malik mastered the Oud, a strange Turkish stringed instrument, rarely used in jazz! This CD presents 2 of Ahmed’s greatest albums — the records The Music Of Ahmed Abdul-Malik and Sounds of Africa — both of which were issued by Prestige in the early 60s, and are as rare as hen’s teeth. The albums show Abdul-Malik working in a really unique territory — one that crosses modern jazz, African rhythms, and Eastern melodic improvisation — almost in the “jazz exotic” territory of Yusef Lateef, but done with a much more revolutionary vision. Instrumentation is a rich blend of percussion, bass, cello, Oud, alto, tenor, trumpet, and other exotic instruments — and titles include “Wakida Hena”, “La Ibkey”, “Oud Blues”, “The Hustlers”, “Nights On Saturn”, “Suffering”, and “African Bossa Nova”.
Archive for the ‘Ahmed Abdul-Malik’ Category
The late Ahmed Abdul-Malik was one of the first musicians to integrate non-Western musical elements into jazz. Best known to jazz listeners as a bassist with Thelonious Monk, Randy Weston, Coleman Hawkins, and many others, he made a few records as a leader, with this one being his most exotic and also the hardest to find. The Brooklyn native was of Sudanese descent; in addition to playing bass on this interesting blend of Middle Eastern instruments with those from the world of jazz, he also plays oud, the forerunner to the lute. The musicians on Malik’s eight originals vary from track to track. On the mournful “La Ibky (Don’t Cry),” Malik’s oud shares the spotlight with a tenor sax (either Benny Golson or Johnny Griffin) plus trumpeter Lee Morgan. “Rooh (The Soul)” features the 72-string kanoon (which is sort of a brittle sounding and much smaller harp) played by Ahmed Yetman, along with Malik’s arco bass and the droning violin of Naim Karacand. The Middle Eastern instruments are absent during “Searchin’,” which is sort of a hard bop vehicle featuring trombonist Curtis Fuller and Jerome Richardson on flute, along with the tenor sax. “Takseem (Solo)” omits the jazz instruments; the slowness of the variations of the music and rather piercing vocal make it harder for Western ears to comprehend. Not a release of interest to everyone but, for the most part, this fusion of vastly different styles of music is quite enjoyable; it’s obvious from the start that the musicians were enjoying themselves as it was recorded. This long out print LP will be difficult to locate.» (AMG)