Category Archives: CD Reviews

Middle Eastern Music From Brooklyn: Baharat Band’s New CD

BaharatArtist: Baharat Band
Titel: Mosaics
Label: self-produced
Genre: Middle Eastern music/World/Belly dance music

CD Review by Dawoud Kringle

“Baharat” is an Arabic word for a spice blend that varies from different regions. As spices were traded along the trade routes so were musical instruments, which evolved in an original way to their respective culture. With this idea as conceptual foundation, Baharat Band is a band of Brooklyn based ensemble whose compositions and improvisations are influenced by music from various cultures from Africa to Asia, though primarily from the Middle East. They were founded by Michael Burdi (oud) and his brother Jerome Burdi (percussion), and joined by Jeff Campoli (percussion) and Enrique Mancia (bass). They are joined by guest musicians Adam Maalouf (riq), Hanna Madbek (guitar, vocals), and Cody Rowlands (trumpet).

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M.A.K.U. SoundSystem: A NY Immigrant Band’s New CD Release

M.A.K.U. SoundSystemArtist: M.A.K.U. SoundSystem
Title: Mezcla
Label: Glitterbeat Records (Germany)
Genre: Cumbia/Afro Beat/Club

Review by Dawoud Kringle

The self described “immigrant band from New York City” M.A.K.U. SoundSystem has released a new album; Mezcla. The members are Liliana Conde (vocals, percussion), Juan Ospina A.K.A Prodigio Arribetiao (vocals, bass), Camilo Rodriguez (guitar, gaitas), Robert Stringer (trombone), Felipe Quiroz (synthesizers), Moris Cañate (tambor alegre), Andres Jimenez (drums), and Isaiah Richardson Jr. (sax, clarinet). Since their beginning in 2010 M.A.K.U. has released two albums, an EP, and toured the U.S.

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Mark Deutsch (NY): Virtuoso Musician, Inventor, and Visionary

Text by Dawoud Kringle

Mark DeutschOnce in a while, a true musical visionary emerges whose work redefines our perception of music, and how and why we make it. As a writer I am challenged to dig deep into my thesaurus to find adjectives adequate to the task of qualifying the work of a unique artist like Mark Deutsch. It is quite difficult to describe with words the astonishing psychic energy and breathtaking beauty of this music. One must experience it for oneself.

Mark Deutsch is a classically trained contrabassist and sitarist. In the late 1980s, Deutsch began exploring North Indian Hindustani classical music. His pursuits of this music, and work on sitar, inspired him to explore the mathematics of sound, particularly music’s underlying frequency structure. His sitar teacher, Ustad Imrat Khan, had told him that a westerner needed 20 years of study to properly hear the subtlety of intonation within Indian raga. He refused to accept this. So, he began to work out the mathematics of the musical intonation. He augmented this by playing recordings of Indian music in his sleep; especially recordings of the sarangi. His work revealed nonlinear mathematical patterns that exist in natural sound, the overtone series, fractals, the golden mean, and the Fibonacci series.

One night, he had a dream that he was playing sarangi on the contrabass. This was the initial inspiration that led to the design and construction of the Bazantar; an acoustic bass with additional sympathetic and drone strings. The instrument would take advantage of the nonlinear mathematical patterns found in sound. He began work on the first prototype of the Bazantar in 1993, and a finalized version was completed in October of 1997.

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Brooklyn Raga Massive’s new CD: performing Raga music of today in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Raga Massive Compilation Vol.1Artist: BRM
Title: Brooklyn Raga Massive Compilation, Volume 1
Label: self produced (producer, editor and mastering engineer – Sameer Gupta,
live recordings – Dave Ellenbogen, NYCRadioLive)
Genre: Indian Classical music/raga/world

CD Review by Dawoud Kringle

For those of you who live in the NYC area, you probably heard of the Brooklyn Raga Massive (BRM). BRM is a collective of musicians whose work is rooted in Indian classical raga. However, unlike most raga based organizations that confine themselves to the admirable (but highly specialized) task of preserving tradition, they expand the scope of their musical endeavors by making liberal use of jazz, Western classical, rock, avant garde, and other music.

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3.5.7 Ensemble – Social Music From Chicago

3.5.7. EnsembleArtist: 3.5.7 Ensemble
Title: Amongst the Smokestacks and Steeples
Label: Milk Factory Productions
Genre: jazz

Review by Dawoud Kringle

Chicago’s 3.5.7 Ensemble (Nick Anaya – woodwinds, James Davis – trumpet, Richard Zili – clarinet, Jim Baker – piano, Tim Stine – guitar, Chris Dammann – Contrabass, Dylan Andrews – percussion, and Mabel Kwan – prepared piano) has compiled an aggregate of compositions spanning a three year history. Most of these are originals the ensemble composed, but “Wandering” by the Chicago tenor sax player Fred Anderson, and “Dangurangu,” a Zimbabwean folk song featuring Mabel Kwan’s prepared piano are included.

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