Monday, April 7, 2008

Guewel - Love letter to Africa, vol.2

its been a year since I returned from West Africa. Sheesh! Where'd the time go? Just recorded my 7th as a leader for Clean Feed entitled Guewel, and its been about a year in the making.

The band includes Taylor Ho Bynum (cornet, flugelhorn), Nate Wooley (trumpet), Mark Taylor (french horn), and Josh Sinton (bari sax), and from last Friday's rehearsal through Saturday night gig and Sunday morning (?!?) recording, it all came together smashingly! Thanks fellas...

Guewel means musician(s) in Wolof (the major language/ethnic group of Senegal). The compositions combine arrangements of Sabar (traditional Wolof drumming) and M’balax (Senegalese pop music), with improvised extrapolations on the written materals. The horn blend came out great. Baritone saxophone's range and fullness balanced the (mostly) cornet/trumpet/horn blend wonderfully. Mixing next week, then will send it off to Portugal for Clean Feed to master. Will be out in September so keep an eye out! More about Guewel in future posts, no doubt.

Never done a sequel project before. Volume 1 in my love-letters-to-Africa series came out on CIMP in 2003, Jalolu. That recording was inspired by and dedicated to Brikama, Gambia, after spending two months there in 02-03. Who knows when vol. 3 will appear, but I will say this: There are more Africa-inspired projects in me, that's for sure.

Time Out New York's preview read:

"In his Guewel project, drummer-composer Harris Eisenstadt mixes his avant-jazz expertise with an extensive knowledge of funky, intricate African music. Fortunately his bandmates—saxist Josh Sinton, plus brassmen Taylor Ho Bynum, Nate Wooley and Mark Taylor—can shift convincingly between boisterous and abstract modes."


Alex Hawkins said...

Hey Harris,

Really looking forward to this. I absolutely love the Jalolu record (which I actually played part of to some of my students the other day), so it'll be fun to 'compare and contrast'.

Hope all's wel1l!


Harris Eisenstadt said...

thanks man. what was the context of playing it for students? just mixing with reuben right now... getting some reverb up in there, etc...

Alex Hawkins said...

They have an exam paper where they have to think about musical fusions, and one of the things they'd done a little bit about in previous classes (not with me!) was West African I was asked to talk with them about jazz and African fusions (which I guess is a bit weird, given jazz is a fusion music to start with, but...). Talked about polyrhythms, hockets, etc...that kind of thing!

Harris Eisenstadt said...

not weird at all... sounds like god stuff for students to thjnk about.
hope alls well hope we get to play soon!

Alex Hawkins said...

Yeah I guess not weird in that sense...just wanted to convey to them that with jazz being fusion in the first place, this was a 'fusion with a fusion' in some senses! Anyway, they were into it for sure...just trying to remember which tune it was I used in the top of my head, maybe 'Boogie on Lenjeno'?

You're right, we've got to play soon! In fact, got a lead in Spain to chase up from a guy on a gig last's hoping!

Harris Eisenstadt said...

fusion with a fusion is right!
good luck on the spain tip!

Tygogal said...
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