Ahmed Abdul-Malik

The Music of Ahmed Abdul-Malik

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This jazz musician of Sudanese descent shows up here and there on recording sessions from the '60s, including a stint as a member of Thelonious Monk's combo. He also played oud and took part in a variety of attempts to blend his roots music with jazz, out of which this is one of the most successful. Indeed, one might overlook the entire fusion nature of this record and look at is as a prime example of how much brilliant jazz is created often by relatively unknown players, despite traditional historical attempts to credit most of the best jazz to a certain pantheon of so-called "giant" players. The best-known player here is drummer Andrew Cyrille, recorded here early in his career, playing in a more traditional style then he would eventually become known for and playing very well to be sure. The leader's original tunes are catchy and refreshing, revealing new delights with each listen. The version of the standard "Don't Blame Me" is a wonderful showcase for another undersung player, cellist Calo Scott. Of course the usual credit should go to recording engineer Rudy Van Gelder, whose efforts recording small combo jazz have never been matched.

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