Anzic Records to Release Bamako By Bus on April 24, 2012, featuring an all-star cast, including Avishai Cohen, Mark Turner, Jason Lindner, Meshell Ndegeocello, Lionel Loueke, Pedrito Martinez & others
Bamako By Bus, Daniel Freedman’s second album as a leader has all the earmarks of project produced by an artist in love with music itself, regardless of genre and category. Freedman, a world class percussionist who has been heard with a panoply of musicians from Angelique Kidjo and Sting to Youssou N’Dour, Tom Harrell and Anat Cohen, has shaped an album that calls on jazz, African and Cuban music, funk and pop, yet comes together as a unified and satisfying whole. With assists from Meshell Ndegeocello, Mark Turner, Lionel Loueke, Avishai Cohen, Jason Lindner, Pedrito Martinez and other handpicked participants, Freedman fashions Bamako By Bus into a personal reflection of his inclusive musical vision.
It is also an album that personifies New York City and the strength and breadth of its music scene. Freedman explains, “the working title was actually ‘NY Nation’, mainly because, although the music has influences from all over the world, it could only have come together here (NYC). The level of players from such diverse styles and backgrounds, and their openness and willingness to jump into new music, was very much a uniquely New York event.”
“This album became my own little musical fantasy,” Freedman states, “I let my imagination run with it and brought together the players that I wanted to hear, the ones who would sound right for the specific piece. I wrote music for those musicians in mind.” Utilizing a core group that included Ndegeocello on electric bass, Jason Lindner on keyboards, Avishai Cohen on trumpet, and his own drums and percussion, Freedman maintained a cohesive sound throughout pieces that feature particular soloists and imaginatively mingle musical influences. The highlights are many: saxophonist Mark Turner embracing the beauty of the ballad, “Alona”; Loueke, the Beninan guitarist, adding his magic to “All Brothers”; Ndegeocello and Linder funking it up while Cohen blows with lyrical force on “Deep Brooklyn”; Master Cuban percussionist and vocalist Pedrito Martinez and legendary New York Rumbero Abraham Rodriguez swelling the folkloric beat of “Rumba Pa’ NYC” (a Guaguancó that Freedman wrote in Spanish about the old days in NYC when there was more music, drumming and culture in the streets), in which they sing their praise for all of the legendary figures of Cuban music, with a special shout-out to Mr. Max Roach; Joshua Levitt’s haunting Ney (Arabic flute) on “Dafur-Oasis”; the horns and locked-in rhythm section grooving over the sleek “Sa’aba,” among others.
The dizzying range of international sources is itself exhilarating: Yoruba Afro-Cuban prayer chant, mixed with a touch of reggae; rumba; Afro-Moroccan Gnawa music blended with Brazilian grooves; and the West African Malian tones that ground the title track, inspired by an arduous 30-hour bus trip the young Freedman took in Mali, one of the many musical adventures that has taken this inveterate musical student to West Africa, the Middle East and Cuba.
When it comes to the sound of Freedman, one has to pay close attention to the layers, fabric and feel of the music to find his many gifts. In lieu of drum solos the listener has the pleasure of experiencing how an expert musician enhances the music with just the right phrasing, dynamics and discernment, as Freedman does on Bamako By Bus (it’s notable that one the most revered albums from the great Art Blakey was the drum-solo-free recording, Ugetsu). We also hear the expertise of a drummer/percussionist who thinks melodically, rather than composing music from the bottom up. “I’m not interested in making the music a showcase for my drumming,” asserts Freedman, who studied with Max Roach and Billy Higgins, among others; “drum solos are great, but I really love the art of ensemble playing, and making music with other drummers.”
And for a drummer who has found fame as a leading jazz figure of his generation, Freedman had no desire to have Bamako By Bus sound anything like your typical jazz recording. “I wanted to sculpt the sound depending on the song,” he says, “I wanted this to be a recording you could fall into. One that takes you somewhere, and gets you lost in your own sonic world.” Drawing on his work as a composer for films and television – a vocation he somehow finds time for in between touring the world as a valued band mate – Freedman, in collaboration with engineer Jean-Luc Sinclair, paid considerable attention to the mixing of the album, striving to reveal the appropriate personality for every track.
“I wanted to get the best out of each piece; I wanted each piece to speak.” That he has.
On April 24, in addition to the release of Bamako By Bus, Anzic Records will release Songs and Portraits, the new CD from Third World Love, and the new recording from bassist Omer Avital, Suite of the East, both featuring Daniel Freedman.
Daniel Freedman – Bamako By Bus
1. “Odudua” featuring Abraham Rodriguez
2. “Elegba Wa” featuring Lionel Loueke
3. “Deep Brooklyn”
4. “Rumba Pa’ NYC” featuring Abraham Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez
5. “Alona” featuring Mark Turner
6. “All Brothers” featuring Lionel Loueke
7. “Darfur/Oasis” featuring Joshua Levitt and Omer Avital
8. “Sa’aba” featuring Mark Turner and Avishai Cohen
9. “Bamako By Bus” featuring Lionel Loueke
Avishai Cohen – trumpet, Lionel Loueke – guitar and vocals, Jason Lindner – keyboards, Meshell Ndegeocello – bass, Omer Avital – acoustic bass (track 7), Daniel Freedman – drums, percussion, Pedrito Martinez, Abraham Rodriguez – vocals and percussion, Mark Turner – tenor saxophone, Joshua Levitt – Ney (Arabic flute), Yosvany Terry, Davi Viera, Mauro Refosco – additional percussion
..:: SOURCE: Red Cat Publicity ::..