Sunday, 28 April 2013

Sunday Sessions: Jazz goes to Africa

This week with the Sunday Session I've decided to share some of the most sublime and beautiful music with you, and you also get to watch the players create it out of thin air.

The piece is "Ocean Wave" by West African Kora player Foday Musa Suso and jazz drummer Jack DeJohnette.

The Kora is a stringed instrument, kind of like a thumb piano, originating from Ghana. It can have anywhere up to (and in some cases beyond) 21 strings, all plucked with the thumbs. It is a beautifully resonant instrument that is capable of some gorgeous melodic and harmonic textures.

Jack DeJohnette is of course well known for playing on Miles Davis' legendary LPs "Bitches Brew", "Live-Evil", "A Tribute To Jack Johnson" and "On The Corner".

These two players start with a basic structure - a drum rhythm and a simple melodic figure - and then they improvise and bounce melodies and rhythms off each other. It is truly wondrous to watch musicians improvise in performance like this, inventing new music as they go. As a result, this piece is never played the same way twice. It is an unusual combination of instruments but it is joyous and exciting. You'll never hear anything like this again.



  1. Beautiful sound. This would be awesome live.

    1. I agree - the entire LP "Music From The Heart Of The Masters" by these two is probably one of the best things I've discovered on Spotify of late, of which "Ocean Wave" is track #1. The entire album is beautiful enough to get lost in!

      Thanks for dropping in and digging the tunes.