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"Good improvisation communicates harmonic progression melodically. Effective melodies manipulate harmonic content through the use of guide tones and preparatory gravity notes, masterfully woven in systematic tension, release, and transparent harmonic definition."

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October 7, 2011 | Ethiopiques--jazz mandolin in Africa!

If you thought jazz mandolin was a twist, you'll find this Time Magazine article on the African jazz movement even more profound. We ran across this and just had to share.

From the article, "Walking into the Jazzamba lounge in Addis Ababa as it readies for a Friday night is like stumbling into a gig by an Ethiopian Buena Vista Social Club. The venue is hung with low-lit golden chandeliers, candles dot the tables, the barman is flirting with the waitresses, and on stage, running through its discordant but not unappealing set, is a jazz band comprising seven musicians: a drummer, percussionist, guitarist, bassist, keyboard player and, sitting on stools out front, an elderly mandolin player and an equally aged singer.

My host, club co-owner Samuel Gezahegn, snaps his fingers for fresh beers and indicates I should sit. "The singer is Girma Negash, a legend from the old days," says Gezahegn. "He drives a cab today. Can you imagine?" Gezahegn points to the mandolin player. "Ayele Mamo: the only guy in Ethiopia who plays mandolin, and he's been playing 52 years." The band, I learn, is the Addis Acoustic Project. And just when I think this can't get any cooler, it does: midsong, Negash steps forward, microphone in hand, and points and smiles at me like Tony Bennett."

Read more: Swing State: Jazz-Mad Ethiopia Rejoices at a Musical Revival

Time Photo Essays.

More on the Addis Acoustic Project


Posted by Ted at October 7, 2011 5:23 AM

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