Strut present the definitive official reissue of this landmark album in the field of African music originally released in 1972. Available now.
Recorded in New York, Mulatu of Ethiopia arrived at a time when Astatke had begun to master the delicate fusion of styles needed to create Ethio jazz. The album represents the first fully formed document of his trademark sound. It features ‘Kulunmanqueleshi’, ‘Dewel’, and ‘Kasalefku-Hulu’, tracks that Mulatu would return to regularly on singles and in live shows, the Ethio-Latin workout ‘Chifara’ and the self-titled groover ‘Mulatu’: “I wanted to make a track for myself!”.
The vinyl version is available both as a standard 1LP format, and as a limited edition 3LP 6-panel gatefold set. The 3LP deluxe edition features the stereo album master, a pre-mix mono master and a selection of out-takes from the sessions, giving the listener rare access to the DNA of the studio process. The full original album will also be available on CD and digital formats. All formats feature a new interview with Mulatu Astatke and rare photos.
Here at Strut, we’ve been captivated with African music of many varieties ever since we first dipped our toes into the vast waters of music from the continent. Our initial forays into releasing curated collections of music from Africa focused on West African Afrobeat and Afro-Funk, and in the following years broadened our scope to touch on Ethio Jazz, North African Gnawa, South African township jive, and countless other varieties and hybrids.
To kick off 2015, we’ve compiled selections from our many African releases for a special digital release. Afro-Beats is over two hours of music, and we kept the price below that of an average album release. Dig in, and enjoy!
1. Ebo Taylor : Ayesama (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
2. Jabula : Jabula Happiness (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
3. Mulatu Astatke : Green Africa (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
4. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Koumi Dede (taken from Cotonou Club)
5. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Aseni (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
6. Jingo : Fever (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
7. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Phantom Of The Panther (taken from Inspiration Information)
8. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kelen (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
9. The Souljazz Orchestra : One Life To Live (taken from Inner Fire)
10. Cornell Campbell Meets Soothsayers : We Want to Be Free (taken from Nothing Can Stop Us)
11. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Against The Wall (taken from Inspiration Information)
12. Julian Bahula’s Jazz Afrika : Woza Cindi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
13. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics : Jaiyede Afro (taken from Jaiyede Afro)
14. The Souljazz Orchestra : As The Crow Flies (taken from Inner Fire)
15. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea : Kononi (taken from Fangnawa Experience)
16. Orlando Julius & His Modern Aces : Efoye So (taken from Super Afro Soul)
17. Ebo Taylor : Abonsam (taken from Appia Kwa Bridge)
18. Orchestre Poly-Rythmo : Holonon (taken from Cotonou Club)
19. Mercury Dance Band : Envy No Good (taken from Afro-Rock Vol. 1)
20. Malombo Jazz Makers : Hleziphi (taken from Spirit Of Malombo)
21. Mulatu Astatke / The Heliocentrics : Esketa Dance (taken from Inspiration Information)
22. Mulatu Astatke : I Faram Gami I Faram (taken from Mulatu Steps Ahead)
23. Jimi Tenor, Tony Allen : Cella’s Walk (taken from Inspiration Information)
24. Ebo Taylor : Nga Nga (taken from Love And Death)
American soul, Nigerian-style Afrobeat, and of course jazz make up the foundations of The Souljazz Orchstra’s sound, but as prodigiously skilled musicians and prolific listeners, the Orchestra regularly incorporates other sonic reference points into their compositions. On “Kingdom Come,” one of the many highlights from their new album Inner Fire, there’s a distinct flavor of Ethio Jazz, as popularized by Mulatu Astatke. But the music, as typified by up an front raw recording style, a razor sharp rhythm section, and the prominent baritone saxophone work, is immediately recognizable as a Souljazz creation.
Watch the new video for “Kingdom Come,” comprised of public domain images of Egyptian art, below. Inner Fire is available in record stores now, as well as on iTunes, Amazon and the Strut Store (where, as always, LP orders will be shipped on limited 180 G vinyl while supplies last).
Dating back to our very first release, Club Africa from 1999, packaging and presenting choice selections from the vast wealth of incredible music from the African content has been a labor of love here at Strut. We’ve had the good fortune to work with some of our heroes, and many stalwart legends of African music, spanning styles from Nigerian Afrobeat to South African Township Jive to Moroccan Gnawa and much in between.
This holiday season we’ve put together a special digital package featuring some of the cream of the crop from our African catalog, including music from legends like Mulatu Astatke, Ebo Taylor, Tony Allen and many more. The whole collection (26 tracks in total) is available on iTunes for $7.99, which makes it easy to dig a little deeper into some incredible sounds.
In addition, many of the original albums on which these songs appear are available at a discounted rate through iTunes for a limited time. Treat yourself to some amazing music!
It’s now been close to a year since we had the honor of releasing Mulatu Astatke’s first solo album in decades, Mulatu Steps Ahead, but the album has stayed in heavy rotation for us ever since then. We’re currently working on a new compilation featuring previously unheard material that will be sure to excite. More info on that coming soon (sorry to tease), but for now here are two clips from Astatke’s recent Brazilian tour to tide you over.