Getatchew Mekuria & the Ex and Friends – Y’Anbessaw Tezeta (CD Terp Records)
If Malcolm Gladwell’s theory, which is about research showing that 10000 hour of practice makes the expert, holds true, than what term would be applicable for Getatchew Mekuria’s life long exercising the saxophone ? Getatchew’s tenor saxophone playing is touching and beyond anything else this is goading music from the African continent. But where the guitars and vocals outings by Group Inerane are serving preparations for war by means of creating a trance, here Getatchew’s sax also whips things up but the ultimate target is to party rather than fight.
Y’anbessaw Tezete (‘In memory of the lion’) is more than honouring the lion of Judah (or Haile Selassi) a tribute to Getatchew himself, who, at the age of 76, expressed the desire to make one more recording with The Ex. The music Getatchew extracts from his instrument are pure, accessible and playful and somehow it is very easy to imagine the sadness and mourning about irreversible changes happening in life and joy about some things come to an end. The old Dutch Punk-rockers of the Ex here offer Getatchew a platform to showcase his capabilities, and they admirably recede into the background throughout the session though having said this, at the same time they also succeed in creating some fine rocking psychedelica from Ethiopia.
And there’s even more to celebrate. As a bonus the CD comes with a second CD with live recordings, some as old as from 1960 (Haile Selassie 1 Theatre Orchestra) and some more recent recordings playing with the Ex in Montreal. A worthy and well deserved tribute to the man himself, to the spirits of the ancient African continent and to synergetic rocking collaborations worldwide. PvdG.