September 28, 2011

Lloyd Miller & The Heliocentrics

On the heels of Strut’s successful award-winning pairing of the UK psychedelic electro funk/jazz ensemble The Heliocentrics with East African Ethio jazz pioneer Mulatu Astatke last year, the label decided to pair this British band with another enigmatic cosmopolitan jazz legend – Lloyd Miller. Casting off their electronic edge, for this project The Heliocentrics provide a deep, organic, and hypnotic Afro-Arab acoustic funk that flows and swings with agility behind the exotic tones and textures of Miller’s multi-instrumental explorations of Persian modalities and colors.
Miller is not just another jazzer attempting to jump on the world music bandwagon, but rather he is deeply committed to the foreign, namely Persian and Asian, musical traditions that give his brand of global jazz fusion a profound depth and authenticity. In fact, Miller has been mixing Middle Eastern music with jazz since the late 1950s, when he moved to Iran with his family. Building on his background as a Dixieland clarinetist and pianist, Miller studied with Middle Eastern music masters such as Dr. Daryush Safvat and Mahmoud Karimi, developing talents on multiple Persian instruments. He first showcased his unique Eastern-infused jazz on his seminal recording Oriental Jazz from the 1960s, which has since become a cult classic for global jazz connoisseurs and can now be heard on A Lifetime in Oriental Jazz, a recent compilation CD put out by the UK label Jazzman.
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As an appreciator of exotica jazz, it’s hard to find a better one-stop shop than Miller. Born to a family where his father played clarinet and his mother was a ballet dancer, Miller spent time in Tehran, Beirut and most of continental Europe before receiving a B.A. in Asian Studies from Brigham Young University and an M.A. in Persian Studies from the University of Utah. During this time, he developed a talent for playing santur, zarb, oud, sehtar, dan tranh and dam kim in addition to piano. Persistent touring over the years has helped him stay fresh as a septuagenarian. The origins of this collaboration can be traced to a Jazzman compilation out earlier this year called A Lifetime in Oriental Jazz, which netted an invitation to the U.K. to work with Nostalgia 77 and The Heliocentrics. The latter collaboration produced an EP, and further studio time in February 2010 led to the music presented here.
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1. Electricone
2. Nava Listen
3. Pari Ruu
4. Salendro
5. Spirit Jazz
6. Modality
7. Rain Dance
8. Lloyd Lets Loose
9. Bali Bronze
10. Cuzco
11. Charhargah
12. Sunda Sunset

Helio word is thegooodone

Considering your styles are almost diametrically opposed, was there a lot of initial dischord between you and the Heliocentrics, or was the process pretty smooth?

They're very talented musicians, they hear that thumping rock beat, that hip-hop sound, and I just can't do anything with that. I don't even think Shelly Manne could do anything with it. It was a hard process -- it wasn't like they were bad musicians or bad guys, but it was like Tiger Woods going against wrestlers out to trip limbs. Not even Tiger Woods could do well dealing with that in the grass. I like to play jazz, and they're such nice guys that I didn't want to make them feel bad.

But there were people throwing their sticks on the floor, swearing and screaming. When they sent me the tracks, I initially said that I couldn't play on that junk. To me, it sounded like background music for a horror film. I try to make music that’s very beautiful, but not syrupy -- the sort of beautiful that Miles Davis made on "Kind of Blue." I want to make things that feel like watching the sun set at Santa Monica or Laguna. They wanted to make jumpy, scary music, so there was a problem.


When do you think things started to go downhill?

It was about 1955 or something. There was still some good jazz after that and I don't want to blame the four apostles of the devil for being out to destroy world music, but things just got wilder and louder and out of hand. But I think there's people out there who still connect to the old days. There's a bass player in my band who wears her hair like she lived in the 1930s or 1940s -- like she was straight out of a Doris Day film.

What might happen is that we go in this direction like the Salt Flats in Utah, where we're going 400 miles an hour and pretty soon you realize that you can't go any farther and you have to return to where you came from to avoid disaster.

Do you feel that there's a legitimate chance of this happening?

I’m kind of hoping that on my death bed, there's a neo-Puritan revival. I hope that people get tired of being drugged out and sleepless, and that there will be a movement among youth to wear long dresses and nice suits and not get any tattoos. They'd drink wheat grass, and praise the Lord and not be part of corporate entities that are quick to sell them junk. And they'd gravitate toward beautiful dreamy music like Ravi Shankar and Japanese cultural music, and maybe, just maybe, they’d discover an old LP from Lloyd Miller, and say that this idiot was trying to do it a very long time ago and he was ahead of the curve.

September 26, 2011

Archimedes Badkar – Tre

"What a long strange trip it was", to paraphrase The Grateful Dead, only it wasn't that long - but it sure was strange! Archimedes Badkar ("Archimedes' Bathtub") was started by yours truly in elementa­ry schools eight grade (1972) in Grondal, southern Stockholm as a combined light-show(!) and music unit: just a bunch of kids messing around, our influences ranging front complex Zappa-isms and Coltrane/Shepp/Sanders -free jazz" to the mini­malistic methods ofTerry Riley widened with the arrival of "real musician- Jorgen Adolfison, who brought with him his vast knowledge of traditional music Irons all over the globe. Our real-life heroes were the grown-ups in -FIlisket Brinner" (with Sten Bergman), "Triid, Gras & Stenar- (with Thomas Mcra Gam and Torbjorn Abelli), "Arbete OcIs Fritid" (with Bengt -Beebe- Berger, Kjell Wesding, and later Tord Bengtsson) and the late Don Cherry, who resided in Sweden at the time, and whose fellow musicians included Christer BotIsa and -Beebe" Berger. Making a record was a seemingly unobtainable fantasy.

So it still amazes inc that in 1979 Archimedes Badkar had released four albums (including a dou­ble one), Don Cherry had been a frequent guest artist, Kjell Westling had recorded and toured with the band, and the other musicians mentioned above were all members of the band !

But before that the first years of playing bene­fit gigs and free festivals were really chaotic, in sort ola "anything goes" spirit of the time - to say that the audiences never knew what to expect would be a subtle understatement: hell, we didn't know what to expect ! The number of people on stage would range from four to twenty (including fire- eaters and extravagantely dressed dancers - Sun Ra surely was an influence). Guys we had never seen before would turn up with guitars and big amps (including one Che Guevara-look-a-like biker with enormous chains around Isis waist). It was hard to tell who was actually a member of the band, and what instrument they played.This is cer­tainly true in the case of brilliant guitarist and bass- player Christer Bjernelind, who would turn up for rehearsals carrying the pieces of a clarinet in a plastic bag, a tenor saxophone with a rope as neck- strap, or, on one particulary memorable occasion, a vibraphone Ise had transported across town on it's wheels.

By the time -Tre", our third album, was recorded in 1977 things were comparatively more tightly structured. But we still kept things quite open, moving from thumb piano duos to indian instrumentation with electric bass soloing, to full "jazz- line-up of horns, piano, bass and drums.

When I left the band to fully concentrate on my duties in "Peps Blodsband" Bengt became band­leader and eventually transformed the band into "The Bitter Funeral Beer Band", developing his arrangements of music from Ghana that had star­ted with "Darkpen". The album "BITTER FUNERAL BEER" (ECM 8393082) features Don Cherry, the Adolfssons, Bothen, Kjell Westling, Krantz, Thomas Mera Gartz, Tord Bengtsson and others. Christer Bother' recorded one of the best albums I've heard (big words, but I mean it), "TRANCE DANCE" (up-coming CD- re-release on MNW) featuring musical impressions of his stays in Mali and Morocco with Bengt, Mera, the AdolSsons, Wesding, Krantz, Bengtsson and his newly-formed band "Bolon Bata".

jorgen and Tommy continued to work as a duo called the "KARL BROTHERS" (though they are only musically, not genetically, brothers), recording a great album in 1994 (Slask Records SI.ACD 009).

I have made nine solo albums to date (inclu­

ding one collaboration with the late painter and poet Mati Klarwein) featuring contributions from the Adolfssons, Botha, Berger, Christer Bjerne­lind, and Peter Ek who together with Jorge!' is part of my current band which can be heard on the CD "UNIVERSAL RIDDIM" 1'M1VW/RUBCD 17).

Archimedes Badkar has yet to follow the on­going trend of re-unions, but with the release of this CD, who knows ?

— Linear notes Per Tyernberg,

Stockholm, May 2003 •

1 Badidoom
2 Wildlife
3 Akombah
4 Bhajan
5 Slum
6 Thumb Piano Music
7 Suite: Pharoah / El Legend / Marrakech
8 Desert Band
9 Tzivaeri
10 Nomads
11 Yugoslavian Dance
12 Jorden ("The Earth")
13 Charmante Yerevan
14 After The Rain / Waterfalls
15 Darkpen

word to pass around the bathtub is thegoodone

September 24, 2011

Spirits & Gifts

the focus for today is on this contemporary  rhythm shaman and renaissance man :

Originally from Chicago, composer and handrummer/percussionist Adam Rudolph has, for the past three decades, appeared at festivals and concerts throughout North & South America, Europe, Africa, and Japan.
In 1988 Rudolph began his association with the legendary Yusef Lateef, which lasts to this day. He has recorded 14 albums with Dr. Lateef including their large ensemble collaborations: “The World at Peace” (1995), “Beyond the Sky” (2000) and 2003’s “In The Garden” with Rudolph conducting his Go: Organic Orchestra. He has performed worldwide with Dr. Lateef in ensembles ranging from their acclaimed duo concerts to appearing as guest soloist with Koln, Atlanta and Detroit symphony orchestras.
Since the 1970’s Rudolph has been developing his unique syncretic approach to hand drums in creative collaborations with many masters of cross-cultural and improvised music such as Sam Rivers, Pharoah Sanders, L. Shankar, and Fred Anderson. He is known especially for his innovative small group and duo collaborations with Don Cherry, Jon Hassel, Wadada Leo Smith, and Omar Sosa.

Since 1992 Rudolph has led his own performing ensemble, Adam Rudolph’s Moving Pictures, featuring drummer Hamid Drake, Ralph Jones, and Venice based Butoh dance innovator Oguri. The group has performed in both Europe and the United States, and has released several CD’s featuring Rudolph’s compositions. In 1995 he premiered The Dreamer, an Opera based on Friedreich Nietzsche's "Birth of Tragedy".


"Most musicians come to grasp an understanding of music in terms of style - such as the predominant style of music of the sixties. When you look underneath style, then you see more basic components, like rhythm and harmony. But at an even more essential level there is music as vibration; and I think this is the deepest level of understanding we can pursue".

"What's passed on is specific musical information about intervals, rhythms, use of sound and silence. But the more profound things that we learn from the elders have to do with an attitude and a reverence toward the creation of music. Don [Cherry] said to me: 'You have to respect the silence before you can respect the sound.'

2 gifts to keep you busy:)

Spirits with Pharoah Sanders and Hamid Drake

Gift of the Gnawa with Hassan Hakmoun and Don Cherry

September 17, 2011

3 Feet High & Rising

What do you get when you put together afrobeat legend Fela Kuti and rap pioneers De La Soul? You get Fela Soul; a musical tapestry created by Gummy Soul artist Amerigo Gazaway. More than just a clever title, Fela Soul is an 8-track, 33 minute journey into the world of afrobeat rhythms, funky horn riffs, and classic hip-hop gems. Using dozens of hand-picked samples from the Nigerian instrumentalist and political figure Fela Kuti, and 8 carefully-chosen acapellas from the Native Tongue rap trio De La Soul, Amerigo seamlessly intertwines the two into something completely new and original. 

September 14, 2011

King Sunny Adé - Juju Music

In Nigeria they call him 'Chairman King Sunny Adé. The prefix succinctly reflects Adés role in JuJu Music, the prime popular music of the Yoruba people. If JuJu Music is BIG in Nigeria, then Sunny Ade is undoubtedly the biggest. Even a casual look at the Nigerian charts over the last year will reveal a constant stream of number one hits for Sunny Adé. Indeed, it's unknown for a Sunny Adé album to sell less than 200,000 copies: and the man has released some 40 albums during the past decade. JuJu accounts for a massive part of the Nigerian record business. An estimated 12 million records, for instance, will be sold in 1982. Yet despite its mass acceptance, JuJu Music has never lost its special 'roots' quality. it is, simply, a tough modern dance music freely drawing on the traditions of the Yoruba, Nigeria's largest tribe. JuJu Music is rooted in the complex call and response between the talking drums and the singers. Although the music has been around since the Twenties, contemporary .111.1u Music really took shape with the introduction of Western instruments in the Fifties. Electric guitars, for instance, are now central. To Western ears the electric guitar is the dominant sound, its tunings and its harmonies lending a unique distinction.

Other components include steel guitars and, more recently, synthesisers (which make an extraordinary blend with the traditional talking drums). Sunny Adé, with his band. The African Beats, has pioneered many of the innovations in JuJu Music, constantly embarking on new ideas and using the full resources of the modern recording studio, The African Beats, for example, was the first band to use Hawaiian guitar, synthesiser and now, on this new album, even reggae-style Dub effects. Sunny Adés new album, called simply JUJU MUSIC, was recorded in Lome, the capital of the West African state of Togo. It was mixed in London. The tunes featured on JUJU MUSIC are established favourites from Adés bulging repertoire, perhaps the best introduction that can he made to the Chairman's music. "JuJu music is essentially party music.. the fans out there want to dance and the rhythm is basically simple and, once you hook it up, it flows endlessly," says Sunny. it really is a very rich music."

1. Ja Funmi 7:08
2. Eje Nlo Gba Ara Mi 7:14
3. Mo Beru Agba 3:27
4. Sunny Ti De Ariya 3:46
5. Ma Jaiye Oni 5:07
6. 365 Is My Number/ The Message 8:16
7. Samba/ E Falaba Lewe 8:07

pw thegoodone

Jùjú is a style of Nigerian popular music, derived from traditional Yoruba percussion. The name comes from a Yoruba word "juju" or "jiju" meaning "throwing" or "something being thrown." Juju music did not derive its name from juju, which "is a form of magic and the use of magic objects or witchcraft common in West Africa, Haiti, Cuba and other South American nations." It evolved in the 1920s in urban clubs across the countries, and was believed to have been created by AbdulRafiu Babatunde King, popularly known as Tunde King. The first jùjú recordings were by Tunde King and Ojoge Daniel from the same era of the 1920s when Tunde King pioneered it. The lead and predominant instrument of Jùjú is the Iya Ilu,"' talking drum. Some Jùjú musicians were itinerant, including early pioneers Ojoge Daniel, Irewole Denge and the "blind minstrel" Kokoro.

Afro-juju is a style of Nigerian popular music, a mixture of Jùjú music and Afrobeat. Its most famous exponent was Shina Peters, who was so popular that the press called the phenomenon "Shinamania". Afro-juju's peak of popularity came in the early 1990s.

September 6, 2011

Mahishasura mardini stotram

Ayi sumana sumana,
Sumana sumanohara kanthiyuthe,
Sritha rajani rajani rajani,
Rajaneekaravakthra vruthe,
Sunayana vibhramarabhrama,
Jaya Jaya Mahishasura mardini ,
Ramya kapardini, shaila Suthe.

Victory and victory to you,
Oh darling daughter of the mountain,
Oh Goddess of the people with good mind,
Who is greatly gracious to such people,
Oh Goddess who appears very pretty to the good minded,
Oh Goddess with moon like face,
Who is as cool as the moon ,to those in the dark,
Oh Goddess whose face shines in the moon light,
Oh Goddess whose very pretty flower like eyes attracts the bees ,
Oh Goddess who attracts devotees ,like a flower which attracts bees,
Oh Goddess who attracts her lord like a bee,
Oh Goddess who has captivating braided hair,
Who is the daughter of a mountain.
And who is the slayer of Mahishasura

other full version

A slightly different version of Mahishasura mardini stotram (regge flavour)

from Kultiration - Kultiration album

And a clasic
Sudha Raghunathan - Mahishasura Mardhini Stotram