Ethiopia Archive

Jeff DINGLER: In Transit

Jeff DINGLER: In Transit

Jeff DINGLER: In Transit – 41:43 (9/4/17) ****; (Jeff Dingler; bass/ Brad Shepik; guitar/ Lou Rainone; piano/ Gusten Rudolph/ Josh Bailey; percussion) Ethiopian inflected jazz, both buoyant and brainy. From the title of this new release—In Transit—as well as the cover, which shows a murmuration of swallows against an orange desert sky, we gather we are headed somewhere exotic. It is only after opening the sleeve that we discover this place is Ethiopia. In the photo, it is easy to spot the gringo walking through a busy African suk, carrying his bass. We don’t learn what prompted his Abyssinian sojourn, only that some of the pieces are “influenced directly from the rich sounds and musical traditions of Ethiopia, while others are more abstract interpretations of scenes of the country.” The African flavors consist of the ubiquitous pentatonic scale (filtered through a bebop sensibility), a percussion layer which can become an exuberant chorus, and some colorful ornamentation indigenous to the guitar. More generally, throughout the record, one feels the generosity of African music, its uplift and celebration. The bassist’s eight charts are very well done. They are much more than simple hooks on generic Afro-grooves. Dingler describes Merkato Navigation as a […]