Where: The Order of Melbourne , 2/401 Swanston St. Melbourne
When: Sat 09 Oct, 2010 09:00 PM – 02:00 PM and Sun 10 Oct, 2010
Jazz Rooms proudly presents, The Return of Mulatu Astatke legendary Ethiopian funk/jazz musician, composer and arranger with The Black Jesus Experience (feat. James Arben of The Heliocentrics), Djs Russ Dewbury and Blair Stafford
After selling out two shows at The Forum during this year’s International Jazz Festival Mulatu Astatke returns to Melbourne!! Jazz Rooms proudly presents the encore performance of the legendary Mulatu Astatke, world-renowned musician, composer and arranger from Ethiopia.
Mulatu Astatke is known as the godfather of Ethio-Jazz the infectious music dating back to the 1960s that combines Afro Jazz and Soul and Funk with traditional Ethiopian harmony. One of Ethiopia’s funkiest musicians of the 70s, Mulatu Astatke’s distinct brand of music feature some of the most soulful hip-grinding instrumentals ever recorded in Mother Africa. His music has been rediscovered by a whole new generation of fans through the hugely popular Ethiopiques re release series and recent albums for Strut Records.
Popularly, he is possibly best know for his score for Jim Jarmusch’s 2005 film Broken Flowers whose soundtrack featured several tracks from this revolutionary musician, bringing him to the attention of the mainstream.
Born in Ethiopia in 1943 Astatke trained in London and schooled in the club scene of mid-’60s New York. He was the first African student to attend Berklee College of Music in Boston. A multi-talented musician (vibraphone, conga and percussion), composer and arranger, he has performed across the world and was a guest artist with the Duke Ellington orchestra when they visited Ethiopia in 1971.
Having immersed himself in Caribbean music, funk, jazz and Latin grooves during his lengthy stints abroad, Mulatu returned to his native land to give rise to a brand new sound and become the exceptional musical innovator of the Ethiopian groove. Astatke’s key instrument is the vibraphone and, under the magical touch of his talented hands, the mallets caused the instrument to hum, sensual and evocative, sending the musical vibrations into every part of the body. As a music lover rather than a practicing musician, I don’t find myself in a position to comment on the finer points of the performance, but what I can say, as a jazz lover in particular, is that I found the music highly distinctive and constantly surprising.
One minute I found myself in Africa with driving percussive rhythms incorporated in the jazz evoking images of African dance; at others I was in a smokey nightclub in a Latin American city watching the sensual moves of cha cha dancers. Then I was suddenly somewhere in Arabia, with the haunting notes of a flute. From the late 1960s and 1970s through to today, Astatke’s global mark on music has been phenomenal.
While having never ceased working in his hometown of Addis Ababa, the worldwide appreciation of his music has been deservedly renewed with many re-issues of his early recordings through the Ethiopiques label, making his back catalogue releases collector’s items the world over. Volume 4 of the Ethiopiques series is devoted entirely to Mulatus music.
In 2008, Mulatu collaborated with the London-based psyche-jazz collective The Heliocentrics on the album Inspiration Information Vol. 3 (Strut Records) which included re-workings of his earlier Ethio-jazz classics, along with new material. The album received rave reviews internationally, and introduced the talents of this revered Ethiopian artist to an entirely new generation of listeners. His recently released follow-up album, Mulatu Steps Ahead has been similarly well-received.
At 67, Astatke is still wowing crowds with his deft playing and continuously creative compositions and arrangements. He has performed at some of the worlds most prestigious venues, including New Yorks Lincoln Centre, the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Beethoven-Haus in Bonn, Londons Barbican Centre, and the UKs giant Glastonbury Festival. He Headlined the Melbourne International Jazz festival earlier this year to sell out audiences. For these Jazz Rooms performances, Mulatu will be joined by one of his favourite collaborators, UK saxophonist James Arben from The Heliocentrics who has toured with The Supremes Mary Wilson and Courtney Pine. They will be joined by Melbourne-based band Black Jesus Experience who played an excellent Jazz Rooms debut for us back in June 2010.
The Black Jesus Experience is a nine-piece ensemble that brings together a dynamic blend of traditional Ethiopian music with jazz, funk and hip hop. Members include singer/songwriters from Ethiopia, Namibia & Zimbabwe, with rhythm and horn sections fromAustralia, New Zealand and Ethiopia.
On the decks Russ Dewbury and Blair Stafford provide the Jazz Rooms unique soundtrack connecting cutting edge dance vibrations from all strands of black music past present and future.With a firm emphasis on dance floor energy, expect full on genre crossing club sessions with special guests through the evening until late! Dewbury was responsible for first reissuing Mulatus music through his successful compilation series Africa Funk (Harmless 1998) and Club Africa (Strut 2000)
Blair Stafford, host of Inside Vibe program on PBS FM, director of straightup.com.au; as well being a prominent player on the Melbourne music scene for many years. You can expect one musical journey that will take you memorably on a global, jazzed out expedition.
Standby for the Afro show of 2010, in the intimate setting of the Order of Melbourne, as Mulatu unleashes a potent brew of afro-jazz grooves that will pull you in and leave you in a mystical trance-like state.
Make way for the originals…..Do not miss!