Sunday, September 11, 2011


Mulatu Astatke

Mochilla's Timeless series is a real treat.  Each entry in the series comes in a handsome hardcover booklet, with a CD and DVD, which feature a concert.  I have (and cherish) the Suite For Ma Dukes J. Dilla tribute album (which features an orchestra conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson playing Dilla's songs, as he arranged them for them).

Now, I finally tracked down a copy of the Mulatu Astatke entry.  I've come late to Astatke's genius, first becoming aware of him when the Heliocentrics collaborated with him in 2009.  Since then, I've picked up a few of his own albums, and have come to love his Ethio-jazz genre.

These discs were recorded at a concert in Los Angeles in February of 2009, and feature Astatke on the vibraphone and a number of other (I suppose) well-known jazz musicians making up the band.  Miguel Atwood-Ferguson appears on the violin.  There are nine tracks on the CD, and each of these songs are shown on the DVD as one long concert.  By watching the DVD extras, it is clear that at least three more numbers were performed.

The music is lovely - jazzy, funky, and quite beautiful.  It was amusing to see the white musicians singing in Amharic, but I am not qualified to comment as to how well they managed.  I highly recommend this collection.

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