Globalnoize's Blog

Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics
November 2, 2009, 9:21 pm
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Masenqo – Mulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics

Preview/Buy Mulato and The Heliocentrics Inspiration Information 3
Preview/Buy New York – Addis – London The Story of Ethio Jazz

Mulatu Astatke is from Ethiopia and recorded his seminal records in the 1960’s and 1970’s on small independent labels in Ethiopia. The world is finally catching up to this maestro’s greatness, 2009 has seen Mulatu tour the world and release new material, including a collaboration with Malcolm Catto’s London based psych-jazz ensemble the Heliocentrics. In the 1960’s Mulatu studied in London and New York and absorbed a lot of the NuYorican sounds going around at the time, mixing it up with his unique blend of Etiopian music and it’s unique pentatonic scale (which has five pitches per octave). Their aren’t too many composers whose sounds equally remind you of the arrangements that Duke Ellington composed mixed with fuzz and wah-wah psychedelic sounds. His music has influenced a new generation of musicians including the Budos Band, Dub Collossus, and Cut Chemist.
There is something that can only be described as magical in Mulatu’s greatest compositions; part cinematic, part jazz-funk, it sounds like Roy Ayers scoring a gangster film in the desert. The new album, Inspiration Information 3 captures the essence of Mulatu’s previous work and the Heliocentrics and their drummer Malcolm Catto deliver the goods behind Mulatu’s vibe playing and percussion work.
In the last ten years the songs of Mulatu have appeared on the compilation Ethiopiques 4: Ethio Jazz and Musique Instrumental and in the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers. In 2009 Strut records released the collaboration Inspiration Inspiration 3, and now they have compiled a Mulatu anthology called New York – Addis – London The Story of Ethio Jazz, which features very hard to find gems from Mulatu’s back cataloge. Mulatu has also begun to tour again, and if you get the chance do not miss this giant of music in person!

posted by Oz


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