Jazz Impressions of _______.
September 14, 2011 7:20 PM   Subscribe

Traditional melodies and scales from various world musics played and riffed on with mostly jazz instrumentation and sensibilities. Where can I find more?

I like Toshiko Akiyoshi's occasional use of Japanese themes in her big band jazz. I like Abdullah Ibrahim's use of melodies and themes from his roots. I really like Dave Brubeck's Jazz Impressions of Japan. I like Japan themed music the most and would really like more of that but I also like a lot of other world music. Often this type of music is instrumented with mostly traditional jazz instruments plus one or two instruments distinct to that music culture. I'm thinking shakuhachi in the Japan example. I really like that aspect as well.

Gamelan Jazz? Jazz Ragas? Court music in Jazz? Please recommend anything that you think might fit even if it is obvious. I might not know about it.
posted by Infernarl to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure if this quite fits your criteria but it's good regardless, so you should check it out.
posted by ropeladder at 7:42 PM on September 14, 2011

A couple albums spring to mind:

Yusef Lateef - Eastern Sounds
Cal Tjader - Several Shades of Jade/Breeze from the East
Bela Fleck/Zakir Hussein/Edgar Meyer - The Melody of Rhythm

Maybe even the Enter the Dragon soundtrack? Lalo Schifrin is a complete badass.
posted by gnutron at 7:44 PM on September 14, 2011

Oh, Mulatu Astaqe for sure, and a lot of the other musicians on the Ethiopiques series of CDs. So, so good.

Kinsmen, maybe?
posted by Knicke at 7:58 PM on September 14, 2011

Well, there's Juan Tizol's Caravan, the jazz standard recorded often by Duke Ellington.
posted by nicwolff at 8:00 PM on September 14, 2011

To address the shakuhachi thing in particular... Yamamoto Hozan is I guess the Grand Old Man of shakuhachi jazz. Here are a few representative albums:
  • Music for Zen Meditation, which is maybe less jazz than proto-ambient (or even... easy listening), but is interesting for the combination of clarinet (Scott), shakuhachi (Hozan) and koto (Yuize Shin'ichi).
  • Nobuo Hara & Sharps and Flats, Sharps & Flats in Newport — this is a really brassy big band album (to be honest I don't care much for the sound) but most of the material is arrangements of traditional Japanese music. Hozan gets a couple of solos, and "Midare" (track 4) is a duet with bass (fantastic).
  • Ginkai (a.k.a. "Silver World") is a quartet: Hozan on shakuhachi, Kikuchi Masabumi on piano, Gary Peacock (for it is he!) on bass, and Murakami Hiroshi on drums. Hozan sounds much more comfortable on this record than the others, but it's less immediately accessible than Newport, for example.
Hozan also appears on a couple of tracks of Helen Merill Sings Folk.

For more recent stuff, you might want to check out...
  • Brian "Violent Femmes" Ritchie. Shakuhachi Club NYC and Ryoanji are both great, rockin' albums I can recommend without reservation.
  • Zen Kaiju, by Henry Kaiser and Kiku Day. This is pretty far out, but if you like Kaiser, you will probably like this one too.
  • Ned Rothenberg — Plays saxophone as well, circular breathes, very serious about his art, great music. I think his CDs on Tzadik are probably the best place to hear his shakuhachi skills, although the music there is pretty far from jazz as we know it.
  • Bruce Huebner — he is and has been active in a lot of different projects, has a very distinctive and refined sort of sound and often covers ECM-style standards (Ralph Towner, etc.).
  • John Kaizan Neptune — he has released a lot of albums with more or less jazzy influences (nothing that I would exactly call "straight-ahead" though), you can probably find a lot of stuff on youtube. His music is not particularly "out", but his instrumentation is getting further and further from the standard jazz setup...
Moving beyond shakuhachi, koto player Yagi Michiyo is one of my favorite musicians, period. She has recorded in a wide variety of styles but if you are down with the freer side of jazz you might like Shizuku (her first solo album on Tzadik, a masterpiece) and her many collaborations with talented (if challenging) artists.
posted by No-sword at 9:55 PM on September 14, 2011

Jan Johansson did jazz interpretations of Swedish and Russian folk music (Examples: Berg-Kirstis polska, Kvällar i Moskvas förstäder).
posted by Signy at 12:26 AM on September 15, 2011

Brubeck's Turkish influenced Blue Rondo à la Turk
posted by canoehead at 7:55 AM on September 15, 2011

The Sultan's Picnic and Blue Camel are a mix of Arabic music and jazz. The bandleader's a Lebanese oud player, there's a mostly-American horn section, and then bass and Middle Eastern-ish percussion.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:11 PM on September 15, 2011

Er, that oughta be Blue Camel.
posted by nebulawindphone at 2:11 PM on September 15, 2011

Shankar-Jaikishan mostly composed Bollywood film music, but they also made at least one album (Raga Jazz Style) that, as the name suggests, incorporates jazz and raag elements. Here's one track from the album, you can probably hear most of the rest of it from other linked videos.
posted by Dim Siawns at 11:17 AM on September 17, 2011

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