Getatchew Mekuria, The Ex & Friends - Y’Anbessaw Tezeta (4 stars)

A fine farewell from the great Ethiopian saxophonist, accompanied by Dutch avant-punks The Ex

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Getatchew Mekuria, The Ex & Friends - Y’Anbessaw Tezeta

Getatchew Mekuria, the great Ethiopian saxophonist, ends his 65-year career with Y’Anbessaw Tezeta (‘In memory of the lion’), an album recorded with Dutch avant-punks The Ex. Perhaps surprisingly, the tempos are moderate and the guitars tightly coiled, creating a subtle momentum behind Mekuria's from whom gorgeous, exotic melodies unfurl in a burnished, husky tone. The bonus disc features a scorching Montreal performance with The Ex and assorted jazzers, but the undoubted highlight is the recording of Mekuria and the Haile Selassie 1 Theatre Orchestra from 1960: an astonishing insight into the birth of Ethiopian jazz.

Getatchew Mekuria & The Ex & Friends - Aha Gedawo

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