Friday, September 30, 2011

Mulatu Astatqé

Mulatu Astatqé
5.75" x 12"
pastel, ink on wood, 2003 (2011)
Jazz music is played throughout the whole world. The music Buddy Bolden pioneered in New Orleans more than a century ago has exploded into a thousand different styles and genres. There are hybrids of jazz with pretty much every type of music imaginable. The term fusion, musically, refers to jazz mixed with all sorts of popular music. Growing up in the Netherlands I was exposed to improvisational free jazz of the highest quality. Cities, most notably Amsterdam and Tilburg, had vibrant jazz scenes in the years I became interested in the music. The interest never faded and now on the world wide web, along with a broader interest in the music from the whole wide world, I'm finding all sorts of real exciting jazz from locations not typically associated with jazz. A few weeks ago I put a spotlight on the first Indian Indo-Jazz recording by Shankar Jaikishan. I've know the music of Mulatu Astatqé, the father of Ethio-Jazz, for many years now. A large series of cds called Ethiopiques (Buda Musique) with recordings from Addis Ababa of the 1970s was released beginning in 1997 to advance that music scene to the ears of eager listeners outside the borders of Ethiopia. The Columbus Metropolitan Library had a whole bunch of those cds and every one of them stayed at my house for a few weeks.  Volume 4 from Ethiopiques has the music of Astatqé on it and I found my long lost copy back to accompany me on a long drive down the country. Coincidentally a friend brought another along copy a week later for me to listen to. Mulatu Astatqé is back in Top 100 land after a nine year hiatus. I pulled out that portrait again of Astatqé I did in 2003, I always liked it but I had to fix a few things before posting it because of inadvertent proportional incongruities.

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