Mahmoud Ahmed, Mahmoud & Either Orchestra: Ethiogroove
"Mahmoud Ahmed's voice is urgent and clear as it entrains and entwines with the unique intervals and open spaces of traditional Ethiopian melody, communicating tales of tortured love and melancholic suffering and regret in a language rich with multiple meanings andmetaphors." -- Dusted "Mahmoud Ahmed struts his acute rhythmic sensibilities--his knotty phrasing both mirroring the taut groove and providing it with ace counterpoint." -- JazzTimes "One of the jazz world's most gifted and adventurous big bands, blessed with strong individual soloists who subsume themselves to an even stronger collective sound, one that can embrace supple Latin jazz, sinewy blues, sly funk, and slippery world beat rhythms." -- Washington Post "Thrilling charts and hip juxtapositions of classic jazz, cool pop, and forward-looking original tunes." -- Billboard "Balancing the charismatic flair of the swing era with a smart and energetic eye towards the next century ... rich brass harmonies and splendidly smooth transitions ... subtle arrangements and even spicy romanticism." -- Jazziz
Ethiogroove recreates the atmosphere of Ethiopian star Mahmoud Ahmed's first encounter with the Either/Orchestra, an American big band famous for its renditions of Ethiopian standards. The DVD includes rehearsals and interviews, followed by a superb concert at the 2006 Banlieues Blues Festival. AnaÃ¯s ProsaÃ¯c skillfully captures the ensemble's subtleties on film while providing a veritable history lesson on modern Ethiopian music. Mahmoud Ahmed's earthy voice, dynamic stage presence, and funky songs combine to make him one of the greatest voices of pop music. Here, he is accompanied by the Either/Orchestra, a ten-piece jazz ensemble based in Cambridge. Founded in 1985 by saxophonist/composer Russ Gershon, the E/O combines the agility and freedom of a jazz combo, the raw power and subtle coloring of a jazz orchestra, and the deep grooves of Afro-Latin music. Now in its twentieth year, the group's continuing evolution has made it stronger and more accessible than ever.
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I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who's interested in the music on this DVD.
Addendum: As Russ says, the documentary is of interest in its own right.