Saturday, June 12, 2010

Tommy T - The Prester John Sessions (2009)

The background of Gogol Bordellos Ethiopian bassist Tommy T may only be an undercurrent for that Gypsy-rockin band, but its given full reign on Tommys solo outing, The Prester John Sessions. The name comes from a mythical figure of the Middle Ages, which Tommy uses as a metaphor for his search through his musical roots on this album. That search takes him through Ethiopian folk
melodies (updated and given a fresh twist), booming, bottom-heavy dub reggae, and the kind of jazzy, funky sounds that popped up when Ethiopian artists began soaking up the music coming out of the U.S. and U.K. in the 70s. On a couple of cuts, Ethiopias own Gigi veteran of the World Music scene and collaborator/wife of Bill Laswell lends her exotic pipes to the swirling, sensual mix of styles, and the Gogol Bordello gang pops up on another. For the most part, though, The Prester John Sessions is an instrumental affair whose insinuating reggae grooves, tasty jazz licks, and churning slices of steamy Ethiopian funk combine for an international experience a lot more resonant and
personal than anything youll find on some Putumayo mix CD.

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