Bamako by Bus / Daniel Freedman on Anzic Records

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A thirty hour bus trip in Mali. The album title, Bamako by Bus, was inspired by just such a trip Daniel Freedman - the world class percussionist - took as he ventured to explore new genres from around the world. Freedman gives us a taste of that journey in an electrifyingly innovative jazz recording packed with exotic flavors and mouth watering musicianship.

The sources of influence upon which Freedman and his ensemble draws are staggering in number. At times I stopped and asked myself, “Is this the same disc?” Its global reach spans from jazz to African - Afro-Moroccan Gnawa, West African Malian, Yoruba Afro-Cuban prayer chant -, Cuban, Brazilian, funk, and Regga. The myriad influences merge into a breathtaking new land of musical textures. And we have the collectivity of incredible talents in New York City to thank for bringing it all to life.

One notable quality of the recording: never does Friedman take drum solos. He is, of course, fully capable, but instead applies complementary accents and accompaniment to his compositions to give them the right touch. Bamako by Bus is a fulfilling recording, so much so that it’s impossible for me to name a favorite track. I suspect the sound samples provided on this page will help you see why.

Daniel Freedman's "Darfur / Oasis"