Thanks, in particular, to Jim Jarmusch’s film “Broken Flowers” (2005), Mulatu Astatke (aged 75) is no longer the best-kept secret of Ethiopian music, one that was shared mainly by owners of the wonderful compilation “Éthiopiques” (released in 1999 on Buda Musique). Since 2005, the man who is seen as the father of ethio-jazz has been bringing his bewitching music to a brand-new public, mainly featuring the pentatonic scale. From the late 1960s, he has been producing an original style of jazz, both cosmic and soulful, from a centuries-old tradition, on the vibraphone, congas and a Wurlitzer organ. The master Astatke, who was the first African student at the famous Berklee College of Music in Boston, and who has played, among others, with Duke Ellington, continues to perform his Abyssinian groove with exactly the same freshness. He was in Paris in September (Jazz à La Villette) with guests including Soweto Kinch on saxophone and Richard Olatunde Baker on percussion. And now he is coming to Vienne to share his timeless instrumentals and his unusual churning harmonies using metrics from the Horn of Africa.
Line-up : Mulatu Astatke (vb, wurlitzer and perc), James Arben (md, sax, cl and fl), Byron Wallen (tp), Danny Keane (vlc), Alexnader Hawkins (p, k), John Edwards (double bass), Richard Olatunde Baker (perc), Tom Skinner (dms)
Photo : © Alexis Maryon