OK, so this is obscure! But it’s good.
It’s school half term this week, and I had a few days of holiday left before the end of March, so I decided to take the week off. Be around for the kids, but also spend some time writing and cycling. On the writing, a chance to push on with my book about my musical journey. I’m on a chapter right now about jazz and fusion – fusion being all that music that has a bit of jazz and a lot of something else. Or maybe the other way round.
That’s when I found myself today listening to a brilliant two CD compilation from 2005 called “New Thing!”. On the Soul Jazz label. It’s fusion music from the seventies and eighties mostly. Jazz but not jazz. And downright weird much of the time.
My favourite track is “Little Sunflower” by the East New York Ensemble de Music. It’s from a 1974 album called “At The Helm”.
The band are led by a saxophonist called Bilal Abdurrahman and he plays some far out sounds. It’s the high pitched sax – the soprano – that makes the tune, as well as a Korean instrument called the Piri, which according to my research (a click on Wikipedia of course) is a bamboo version of the oboe. There’s an element of the snake charmer about it, especially at the beginning. There’s some cool jazz in midstream, before the end when everyone gets to wig out.
So, thirteen minutes of obscure jazz, and vaguely eastern weirdness. Worth listening to? Oh yes, I promise you. This is one of the best jazz tracks I’ve heard – ever.
Not in the John Coltrane or Miles Davis class, but in the next division.
Give it a go!