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Summer 2022 marks the release of Here And There, the new album by the critically acclaimed Ethiopian jazz musician Kibrom Birhane. His third and most adventurous record to date, Here And There is a conscious exploration and deep dive into the waters of life; complex yet harmonious soundscapes stem from a diverse range of influences across a broad spectrum, ranging from the sacred and profane, to the pioneering and contemporary. Having absorbed thousand year old Ethiopian orthodox chanting as a child, while expertly acquainting himself with the traditional instruments of the region, Kibrom has focused his diverse musical talents studying past Ethiopian Jazz legends from the 1970s with modern day contemporaries while continuing to reach new depths and discovery. The result of this is the new album Here And There: an inimitable body of work that is a fresh and compelling proposition in today's musical landscape.
Supported by a stellar, multicultural roster of some of LA's finest session players and recorded direct to two inch tape during an intimate live studio session without headphones under the direction of engineer/producer, Kamal de Iruretagoyena Humphrey at Flying Carpet Studios, this latest jewel truly captures Birhane's unquestionable talent. The resulting tracks recall such jazz masterpieces as "Celestial Blues" by Gary Bartz and Joe Henderson's "Earth", creating a special atmosphere within the recording that adds much character to the album as a whole.
The Upbeat Groove of 'Merkato' swings like the outdoor markets of Addis Ababa, while the bossa nova influenced 'Weleta' melds Afro-Latin soul with 1960's West Coast cool. Kibrom offers a stiffing homage to family and community on 'Mender', reflecting furtheron his family ties in 'Enate', a jumping vocal tribute in 11/8 time that features a notable sax solo by Randal Fisher.
Here And There not only delivers the ancient traditional and deep jazz roots of Kibrom's native Ethiopia, but also lifts the listener to a new and unique musical space informed by his work as member of L.A. based Ethio-Cali; an ensemble that boasts such illustrious musicians as Kamasi Washington, Dexter Story, Mark De-Clive Lowe and Todd Simon. In this album, Kibrom has woven Ethiopian Jazz, East-African Funk, Spiritual and Soul Jazz with Psychedelic threads into a rich tapestry of musical colors.
Kibrom Birhane is the future of Ethiopian jazz. He has a deep connection to the past and a vision for the future. His keyboard playing and improvisation reaches the deepest depths of the cosmos inside an unlimited musical universe.
9. Tinish Tinish