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Abyssinia Infinite

The 19-volume Ethiopiques series has worked wonders to boost Ethiopian music in the West, but most of the titles focus on the music’s golden age–the late 60s and early 70s–and contemporary pop from the East African nation is still all but invisible in the States. Ejigayehu “Gigi” Shibabaw is a prominent exception; born in Ethiopia […]

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!!!

I never wanted to like these guys, since they seemed so faux funky: songs that groove but don’t go anywhere, karayzee frat-boy antics, and slap bass galore. But then every DJ and his mom started spinning “Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story),” and I caved. Its wobbly disco beat builds […]

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Alex Blake

Over the last three decades, bassist Alex Blake has worked with musicians of all stripes–Sun Ra, Dizzy Gillespie, the Manhattan Transfer, Billy Cobham, even Jimmy Buffet. In the 90s he developed his most important musical partnership, becoming a key player in Randy Weston’s groups. In the early 70s Weston lived in Tangiers, where he explored […]

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20 Miles

Fat Possum Records, launched nine years ago in Oxford, Mississippi, is best known for rough-edged recordings of modern Delta blues shouters like R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and T-Model Ford; the label’s owners, Matthew Johnson and Bruce Watson, coaxed rural players off front stoops and out of juke joints, much as John Fahey and Bill Barth […]