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Music Reviews
Some jazz recommendations for those who like to spend their wintery Sundays in Moscow cosily curled up and contemplating life to the tuneful background sounds of world-class jazz musicians

Dee Dee Bridgewater Red Earth: A Malian Journey

This project is my ode to Mali, to Africa; it is the story of a lost child fi nding her way home. It is my re-awakening. And I hope it stirs your spirit, that it inspires you to begin your own personal journey. Dee Dee Bridgewater.

In Red Earth: A Malian Journey, Dee Dee Bridgewater, consummate jazz singer, actress and UN FAO Ambassador, travels on a journey to her roots in Africa, using jazz as her artistic medium. This life-filled, multi-layered jazz CD, inspired by the sounds of the African continent, will bring your at home on a Sunday alive. Bridgewaters textured voice, together with the mixture of African instruments and rhythms, will fill your house with exotic music. Drums, guitars, pan pipes, clapping hands and deep melodic voices combine to give a powerful musical experience. Track One, Afro Blues, begins with the rhythm of drums and brings the CD to life, while many different cultural influences are easily apparent. Dee Dee is filled with distinctly Cuban beats and samba rhythms. Mama Dont Ever Go Away includes Indian sitar twangs and Dee Dees Bollywood-style singing which gives yet another layer to the music, while Oh My Love has a jazzy edginess that mixes with gentle pipe sounds to deepen what would otherwise be a conventional love song.

It is an album of world sounds and jazz voices that will transport you far away from dark and wintry Moscow.

Michael Brecker: Pilgrimage

Jazz aficionados will be able to fully appreciate Pilgrimage, the last album released by jazz great Michael Brecker, who died in January 2007. Considered by many to be the greatest tenor saxophonist of his generation, Brecker in this album, recorded just weeks before his death, provides us with a fitting culmination of a lifetime of work.

The tuneful improvised solo pieces take us from the soulful, slow, smoky jazz café atmosphere of When Can I Kiss You Again? to the coffee-house at midday with the lively, upbeat and distinctly joyful Pilgrimage. Five Months from Midnight is a deeply contemplative piece, yet still contains the upbeat tones and rhythms that characterize the album. The entire album combines this contemplative mood with a deep musical vitality.

The band accompanying Brecker is a veritable Whos Who of the jazz world, featuring Herbie Hancock on the piano, Pat Metheny on the guitar, Brad Meldau on the piano, John Patitucci on bass and John DeJohnette on the drums.

At the end of the CD, during the piece Pilgrimage, the music comes to a climatic halt with a crescendo roll of drums. We cant help but feel it is an eminently suitable end to the lifes work of such a great artist.

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