My blog is on holidays

My blog is on holiday until Monday, January 3, 2022. The baffling quiz at the coming weekend will still appear. While the local beach is enticing I am actually in personal lockdown while I finish some outstanding (and late) writing commitments.

Music – Jazz from Ethiopia

This is what I have been listening to while working this morning.

We all know that jazz came from a fusion of African musical elements with European traditions. The Americans think they invented it – as they do almost everything – but the patterns really come from Africa.

So where better to go but to the ‘father of Ethio-jazz’ – Mulatu Astatke – who is one of the great vibraphone players (not to mention his skills in conga drums, percussion and organ).

He is not a big name in Western jazz but to me, he has been a real pioneer and I love the sequence of his albums from early Latin elements (picked up while studying in the US) to his later work fusing pure African influences using Ethiopian instrumentation (such as the chordophone or Krar).

In that later case, the standard pentatonic scale (the Krar is tuned to it) was a perfect way to integrate more Western instruments into his style of jazz.

This song – Yèkèrmo Sèw (A Man of Experience and Wisdom) – is from the 1969 release – Ethiopian Modern Instrumental Hits (released Amha Record).

Amha Records – fled Ethiopia in 1975 after the military junta took over.

It was re-released on the 1998 volume – Éthiopiques 4: Ethio Jazz & Musique Instrumentale 1969-1974 (Buda records), which featured the music of Mulatu Astatke.

This CD is still available.

The song is based on the pentatonic scale in the minor key.

You can hear the impro from the 1960s Fender Rhodes piano – the sound that defined the late 1960s modern jazz sound.

And the fuzz box on the guitar. That was the most aimed for guitar invention that aspiring guitarists in the late 1960s wanted. What a sound!

This track is fusion personified.

He toured Australia in 2016 and I saw him playing at the Melbourne Jazz Festival with the Melbourne band the – Black Jesus Experience. Before COVID, this band would play each weekend at The Horn African Cafe in Johnston Street, Collingwood, just near the ‘centre of the world’ (well my world anyway).

Here is an interesting bio from 2018 – The father of Ethiopian jazz, Mulatu Astatke, remains a musician in motion.

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2021 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Oh dear. I look forward to every blog post of yours and the prospect of not having one until January 3 is disheartening to say the least. You will be missed.

    Maybe I can think of something interesting to say in comments- it might take a while though. And whatever it is, it is bound to be off topic.

    What’s the problem with Americans saying that African- Americans created the category of music we call ‘Jazz’? Americans have invented and/or popularized many things- physical and cultural. Not always good things- but give credit where it is due. It is a big country with many talented people, so it shouldn’t be surprising that we come up with a few things every so often.

  2. Have a happy and peaceful New Year Bill and thanks again for your tireless work on MMT. You remain an inspiration to many of us.

    I’m trying to work out why people believe interest rate rises will have any effect on inflation. I note that the narrative always ends with ‘and therefore we must raise interest rates’, with never any debate on what that will do.

  3. Neil, I`m with you on that; particularly so, when the inflation is primarily “cost push”

  4. Have a great New Year, Bill. Your energy continues to amaze me. I have loved these posts for many years now. I am not sure but I think the Musical education might just ‘pip’ the Economic, if only for the visceral pleasure it gives. They both give equal intellectual pleasure. Take care. Ken.

  5. Have a nice holiday!

    This blog deserves a good vacation after another year of proving excellent, factual, up-to-date information and critiques backed by relevant statistics and analyses on many current economic issues of today, which at times stimulated further insightful debates among followers.

    I am so lucky to have discovered this blog few years ago, as well as to be able to enjoy and admire most of the comments professed thereafter by many contributors.

    I look forward to seeing this wonderful blog coming back soon in the new year.

    Happy holiday and happy New Year to Bill and all the readers!

  6. Happy new year Bill. Your name is coming up a lot in our conversations here on the farm with a range of guests involved in politics and investing. This morning I was asked what insights MMT provide for the average householder going about their life trying to keep their head above water/or even prosper, especially during these uncertain times. I must admit the focus of your writings seem to be political economy. Would it be possible for a piece focused on the individual household? What should we be looking out for in the coming years ahead?

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