Mulatu Astatke is an Ethiopian jazz muscian who is coming to prominence as his music has served as the soundtrack for the film "Broken Flowers." If you havent heard this music, you should check it out. Clubs in Addis Ababa in the 60s and 70s were a churning confection it seems of jazz, soul, Latin all filtered through some unique Ethiopian scales. Joe Tex meets the Skatellites and Albert Ayer on a caravan. All during the last days of Sellasie.
I got up with this stuff one night - the night Bobby Bonds broke Mark McGuire's home run record - in S.F. Stayed at Jim's but whole family had tix for big game. So it was me, some beer, and all Jim's great records. While they Haas crew followed America's pasttime favorite. I watched Bobbie on tube, and, as Jim's place affords view of world, I did see fireworks from the stadium by the bay when he popped it out. Great discovery was "Ethiopiques." This strange toned African by way of Memphis music. Astatke is featued on Disk 4 of Ethiopiques.
Found a record in Cecelia's collection subsequently called "Ere Mela Mela" by Mahmoud Ahmed. Described with sticker as "bluesy sax riffs, rolling rhytms, and eastern modalities." It is all hypnotic - movie like - Broken Flowers director Jarmusch worked his movie around Astatke's music rather than the other way around.
Astatke is undertaking an modest American tour, with a stop in Boston next week at the aptly named Lizard Lounge. Mose Allison plays same evening at Scullers.
Mulatu_Astatke - on Wikipedia
Jim Jarmusch's film puts focus on Ehtiojazz - NYT. Oct 14, 2005 [reg req]
Broken Flowers on Amazon [Hear]
Ethioiopiques V4 on Amazon [Hear]