Middle Eastern Mann

August 1st, 2009 | admin | No Comments | Categories: Blog

  • Brooklyn’s own Herbie Solomon- better known as Herbie Mann- became jazz’s most hirsute flutist and devoted fusionist. Mann started on the clarinet as a Benny Goodman disciple, but then switched to flute to make his mark, mixing jazz with Afro-Cuban, R&B, funk, reggae, and most importantly Brazilian– he was one of the first US jazz musicians to collaborate with the likes of Jobim and the newly-hip-again Sergio Mendes. Before he died in 2003, Mann recorded Eastern European Roots which lacked the raw sizzle of his earlier work but which he talked about as a return to who he “really” was.

    We sure hope not. We’d hate to think that his roots voyage would erase all the other versions of Mann we got to meet– from trolling the “Memphis Undergound” to being a “Sultry Serenader” to hustling the “Discotheque” to having a bad case of “Latin Fever.” Does getting in touch with our roots negate all the branches? Is Jewishness just a one-way ticket? Plus, Mann may not have done Eastern Europe before, but he did do the Middle East on his killer 1967 album Impressions of the Middle East. The liner notes make no mention of Mann’s roots and don’t exploit any connection he might have had to the lands he visits here. There’s references to ouds and odalisques and Turkish coffee, the Jewish staple “Eli, Eli,” and this Mann original, “Dance of the Semites”, which features Chuck Ganimian on oud, Mohamed Elakkad on zither, the always deft Reggie Workman on bass, and (DJs get ready) the Semitic percussion breaks of Robert Marashlian and Moulay Ali Hafid.


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