10 Songs, 53 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The multitalented Astatke pioneered the Ethio-jazz sound in the early '70s, taking improvisational and compositional strategies from American jazz and applying them to the deeply haunting modalities of Ethiopian music. In the late ‘90s, the reissue of Mulatu’s ‘70s recordings by the French imprint Buda Musique created a sensation among European and American music lovers. Mulatu then collaborated with English and American musicians, recording new versions of some of his best-known compositions. Though these collaborations were certainly rewarding, Mulatu Steps Ahead represents a creative accomplishment of an entirely different order. Here Mulatu doesn't revisit the familiar classics but presents a set of adventurous new compositions that evoke the heady experimentation of spiritual jazz icons like Don Cherry and Alice Coltrane as much as the sounds of swinging Addis. Indeed, songs like the gorgeous, gently ascending “Assosa” are as searchingly spiritual and formally adventurous as anything Mulatu composed during his heyday. 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The multitalented Astatke pioneered the Ethio-jazz sound in the early '70s, taking improvisational and compositional strategies from American jazz and applying them to the deeply haunting modalities of Ethiopian music. In the late ‘90s, the reissue of Mulatu’s ‘70s recordings by the French imprint Buda Musique created a sensation among European and American music lovers. Mulatu then collaborated with English and American musicians, recording new versions of some of his best-known compositions. Though these collaborations were certainly rewarding, Mulatu Steps Ahead represents a creative accomplishment of an entirely different order. Here Mulatu doesn't revisit the familiar classics but presents a set of adventurous new compositions that evoke the heady experimentation of spiritual jazz icons like Don Cherry and Alice Coltrane as much as the sounds of swinging Addis. Indeed, songs like the gorgeous, gently ascending “Assosa” are as searchingly spiritual and formally adventurous as anything Mulatu composed during his heyday. 

TITLE TIME

More By Mulatu Astatke

You May Also Like