Decades before the advent of "World Music," the bassist-composer Ahmed Abdul-Malik (b. 1927) was playing a jazz-inflected version. Best known in jazz circles for his solid work with Randy Weston and Thelonious Monk, Abdul-Malik, who is of Sudanese descent, used traditional Middle Eastern instruments (like the oud, on which he sometimes performs here) and melded indigenous scalar and rhythmic patterns with fiery minor key improvisations. In tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin, his bandmate in the 1958 Monk quartet, Abdul-Malik had one of the most exciting soloists on his instrument of that (or, for that matter, any) time. Never arid, Jazz Sahara is a burning fusion of Middle East and West.
Ya Annas (Oh, People), Isma'a (Listen), El Haris (Anxious), Farah 'Alaiyna (Joy Upon Us)
with Johnny Griffin, Naim Karacand, Jack Ghanaim, Mike Hamway, Bilal Abdurrahman, Al Harewood