Welcome to the Arabic Jazz blog!

Ahlan wa sahlan!

Welcome to my blog. I've created this blog to share information and news about music that mixes elements of jazz and Arabic music. I'll also share scores and transcriptions etc. for musicians.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band

From www.passionate-music.com:
Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Salah Ragab was a central figure in the history of jazz in Egypt. A sometime collaborator with Sun Ra, Ragab founded the Cairo Jazz Band in 1968, the same year that he became the head of the Egyptian Military Music Department. The Cairo Jazz Band was Egypt's first big band, mixing American jazz with North African music, combining jazz instrumentation and musical style with indigenous melodies and instruments . . .more

This is a pretty amazing record, definitely has some late '60s free/pyschedelic vibe to it. More of a jazz record in a lot of ways (don't expect much oud), though of course the Arabic roots are clear. In some ways it makes me think of the Latin-jazz developments in the 50s and 60s with musicians like Dizzy Gillespie and Tito Puente.
Arabic jazz seems to be taking longer to catch on . . .

It draws frequent comparisons to the work of Sun Ra, with whom Ragab collaborated (see below). While the influence is undeniable, Ragab has an engaging voice of his own and I suspect he was a fan of Duke Ellington as well. I love these unexpected records from the past that point to a time when record companies were more daring and were obviously not being run by the accounting department.

This is another one for the Sun Ra fans:

1 comment:

CiRiLLo said...

Thanks a lot!
from a very curious brazilian harmonica player.