Ahmed - Super Majnoon (East Meets West) 2LPOtoroku (UK)
[Ahmed] -- the quartet of Pat Thomas, Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip, and Seymour Wright -- make music of heavy rhythm, repetition, and syncopation set deep into an understanding of jazz and the obscure depths of its history. Across the two LPs which make up Super Majnoon [East Meets West] the group work and rework the music of the late musician Ahmed Abdul-Malik to create a stamping, swinging, relentlessly propulsive record where profundity and physicality root right back to ecstatic feeling. Abdul-Malik was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator, and philosopher who fused aspects of American, Arabic, and East African thought, ethics, meanings, and beliefs in open and experimental ways to make vital, forward leaning jazz. [Ahmed] reimagine the notes of Malik as they push for the trajectory of free jazz to emerge from the clichés and cloy neo-classicisms of current "improvised music". Melodies respirate, swell, escalate, and combust in a driving jazz which yes is technical, yes is accomplished, but ultimately just foot-to-the-floor swings. Super Majnoon [East Meets West] is a title fused from the leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka Bechir Attar's description of [Ahmed] after hearing them in Switzerland last year (Majnoon is the Arabic slang for "crazy"), and Abdul-Malik's 1959 album East Meets West. Arriving as a double-LP, the first comprises studio recordings of [Ahmed] at Hong Kong's Empty Gallery in 2018 and the second a scorched live recording at OTO from August 2018. The record features photos by Bert Glinn and Taku Unami and "in and out" liner notes by James G. Spady -- historian and journalist from Philadelphia. "When a musician plays, he should paint a picture," said Malik, "he should portray wind, movement, war, the universe -- and after he finishes, he should be able to repeat in words what he has just said in music. The Man I Love -- things have all been said before -- over and over again. The reason people don't come to concerts is that they're used to the sounds." To guard against this "stagnation", said Malik, jazz must branch out, experiment, fight the inbreeding that is now its wont. Musicians must stop looking inward, and instead, open their eyes to the imaginations of other cultures. Malik interviewed by Bob Gannon in Metronome 1958. [Ahmed] is: Pat Thomas - piano; Antonin Gerbal - drums; Joel Grip - bass; Seymour Wright - alto saxophone. Presented in a stunning gatefold sleeve.