Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Jazz, meet the world. World, Jazz.

Wikipedia lists 22 separate sub-genres in the overarching category of Jazz. Like everyone, I have styles I avoid. A little Ragtime goes a long way. Bluegrass too, to a lesser degree. I don’t like Free Jazz at all (the really outside, avant-garde stuff). That still leaves everyone a whole world of improvisational music that is compelling, experimental, and inspiring. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like at least some jazz when they hear it.

The interesting stuff happens at the intersections.

The interesting stuff happens at the intersections.

For me, Jazz fusion is where the action is. Wikipedia names 44 fusion genres, some of which have great names like Deep HouseSpank Jazz

and Ye-ye. I like how Jazz has interacted with Hip Hop, for example. And I love the collision of the American musical invention of Jazz with other cultures, like the already improvisational West African styles. 

Today I have a few tracks for you from some international artists playing jazz. The first is pianist Eldar Djangirov. He was born in Kyrgyzstan but was “discovered” at a music festival in Siberia when he was 9, after which he moved to the U.S. The child prodigy has grown up and released 3 albums. Check out Watermelon Island to get a feel for his athletic and melodic style. Eldar sounds like three guys at the piano.

From across the Atlantic come English guitarist Fred Frith. From the very cosmopolitan soundtrack to Yes, check out Pink Shoes. The production has a very modern feel . Shuffling snare and hand claps chug along behind clean and dreamy guitar, with a little sampling weirdness for flavor.

Mojo magaine introduced me to the late Jamaican keyboardist Jackie Mittoo’s blend of Jazz and Reggae. Get Up and Get It sounds like Medeski, Martin, & Wood meets Peter Tosh. I like it.

Mulatu Astatke from Ethiopa is known as the father of Ethio-jazz. In other news, there is such a thing as Ethio-jazz. There are the traditional jazz structures, the same use scales and modes, but the music has an east African flavor. He contributed Yekermo Sew to the Broken Flowers soundtrack (I can‘t watch Jim Jarmusch movies anymore, but I love the music he picks). 

I hope you enjoy these. If you’ve got a favorite jazz-influenced artist or disc that bends jazz a little bit, leave a comment and tell me about it. I’d love to check out what you’ve found.


March 3, 2009 - Posted by | Jazz, Uncategorized, World Music

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