Is This Jazz? The New Mulatu Astatke Album

By Patrick Jarenwattananon
08- 5-2009

I know, I know. The response to this question is always “does it matter?” And the answer is usually “no.”

Still, it’s occasionally useful to explore. And this year, there seems to be some balking at the inclusion of Ethopian groove music pioneer Mulatu Astatke within the jazz umbrella. I heard it privately from a few people when Bob Boilen, host/creator of NPR Music’s All Songs Considered, called Astatke’s new album Inspiration Information 3 “the best jazz record I’ve heard in 2009.” Recently, the voracious listener known as Free Jazz Stef also expressed some reservations:

This album is OK, but nothing more than that. It is a mixture of stuff, often characterless, but the Ethopian’s music is so compelling, that it even withstands the treatment given here. I hope it will lead listeners to the real music. Read more.
Yekermo Sew: Mulatu Astatke and Heliocentrics Live

Ace to Ace interview with Mulatu Astatke
In the Ethiopian musical world Mulatu Astatke is atypical, totally
unique, a legend unto himself. He was the first Ethiopian musician
educated abroad, object of tribute and admiration. Mulatu is the
the inventor and maybe the only musician of Ethio-Jazz (Jazz
instrumentals with strong brass rhythms and traditional elements
of Ethiopian music).

5 Responses to “Is This Jazz? The New Mulatu Astatke Album”

  1. 1 anonymous Aug 7th, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    wow this is great stuff….this particular sound reminds me of ETV’s technical difficulties.

  2. 2 Aklilu Aug 13th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Wonderful!I believed it is one of the great mastepieces in the Ethio-music history.I wish to hear what the international music evaluators say if there is one. All the way it keeps your sensation very high.

  3. 3 Kitaw Negussie Oct 14th, 2009 at 12:57 am

    Oh GASH Mullie!

    U really are advancing the Ethiopian music. I do not ever forget the jazz music on a local radio in Addis. Let good health and longer life be unto you.

  4. 4 Minale Nov 12th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Mulatu Astatke is one hell of an artist!!!! But he has not been able transform to the gen X spotlight and the music is always the same. The only thing he has done is bring the Ethiopian music to the worlds forum when no one else could. Hopefully,the newcomers to replace him Abegaz and Fassil will have a much better understanding of appealing to Gen X.

  5. 5 Dubaya Lekemisha Dec 23rd, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    Old is Gold, and is new and sweet.It is crispy and yummy.Cool Jazz!!!

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