A pair of rare albums from the legendary Mulatu
Astatke – back to back on a single CD! First up is Afro Latin Soul Vol 1 – pure insanity from the mighty Mulatu
– one of his few American albums from the 60s! The record's an incredible blend of New York Latin and some of the more Afro-styled grooves Mulatu
explored more freely on his Ethiopian recordings – served up in a jazzy style that has plenty of vibes in the mix, and lots of percussion at the bottom! The record is a treasure throughout – other-worldly, yet still very hip and swinging – a mysterious bridge between Latin America and Africa, suspended on waves of wonderful sound! Titles include "Shagu", "Mascaram Setaba", "Almaz", "Mulatu
's Hideaway", "Askum", "Playboy Cha Cha", and "One For Buzayhew". Afro Latin Soul is rare early work from Mulatu
Astatke – material recorded in America, in the years before Mulatu
returned to his Ethiopian homeland, and really set the scene on fire! The style here is a mix of Latin jazz with some more exotic elements – played by a combo that features Mulatu
on vibes, alongside bass, congas, and timbales – plus a bit of trumpet and piano! The main groove, though, is heavy on vibes – handled with a very sharp tone, in a way that makes the music groove like some of the best 60s Latin Jazz albums by artists like Louie Ramirez or Pete Terrace. Titles include "The Panther", "Girl From Addis Ababa", "Raina", "Love Mood For Two", "Soul Power", "Konjit", and "Karayu".