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East Meets West: Ahmed Abdul-Malik And World Jazz

Bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik helped forge a path for the fusion of jazz with world music.

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Bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik played with pianists Randy Weston and Thelonious Monk in the 1950s before going on to make a handful of dates that helped forge a path for the fusion of jazz with world music. “American jazz is dull,” he told Metronome in 1958. “‘The Man I Love’ things have all been said before… now is the time to transfuse new blood–foreign scales, foreign melodic lines, the Oriental flavor.” His ensuing albums such as East Meets West, Jazz Sahara, and The Music Of Ahmed Abdul-Malik and Sounds of Africa (combined on the CD reissue Jazz Sounds of Africa) employed both ethnic musicians and hardbop greats like Johnny Griffin and Lee Morgan, opening a way that artists such as Don Cherry and Ornette Coleman would later follow in the 1970s.

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