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Joel Grip

For a number of years now, energetic double bassist, filmmaker and producer Grip has played an important role for the new scenes of improvised music in Europe. As founder of Umlaut Records, he opened up for creative forms of organizing collectives of musicians and promoting their music internationally. Since 2003 he has been one of the main organizers of Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda, Sweden, a stand-alone festival, and quite frankly possibly the most pleasant venue for free improvised music not only in Sweden but in the whole of Europe. Few other places offer quite the same endearing combination of sophisticated musical risk-taking, and up-beat, social get-together. Grip’s musicianship is informed by a similar knack for welding musical sophistication with social communication, often with an analog film camera at hand. With a handful of short films Joel Grip met mexican filmmaker Mauricio Hernández and shortly the film production company Umlicht was established. They are right now working on their second feature film together.

www.joelgrip.com / www.umlicht.com

Featured releases

One of the best records of 2017 for sure. Four of the most idiosyncratic and creative voices at the margins of jazz, imagine their way into and around the music and philosophy of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. This is music to listen, dance and think to. A new jazz record, from a new jazz band. [Ahmed] make music about the music of Ahmed Abdul-Malik. They excavate, re-inhabit and use a-new the now overlooked documents, and fragmentary plans, of his mid-20th century synthetic vision to produce a new jazz imagination for the 21st century. Ahmed-Malik (1927-1993) was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator and philosopher. A potent(ial) influence on Coltrane and Monk (we imagine), he was also a significant composer in his own right. (Ignored into creative obscurity, he spent his final decades teaching, and performing seldom). His albums Jazz Sahara (1958) and East Meets West (1960) fuse aspects of Arabic and East African musics and thought, his committed long-term relationship with Sufi Islam, and then-modern jazz and thinking – in revolutionary and vital ways. The product is exciting, radical, raw, and beautiful. But, as well as honouring these traditions, Abdul-Malik invented and imagined a lot*. Abdul- Malik’s straddling, synthetic and inclusive vision is one of the great projects of the imagination in jazz. He mixed sounds and ethics, meanings and beliefs in open, experimental ways without dogma. And so do [Ahmed]. They visit and (re)think his compositions and the process potential in them. They play the notes, but use them, and the ideas in and about them, as vehicles for their unique imaginations, instrumental approaches and ideas. Through his compositions they re-imagine and re-synthesize, moving from what they know into newly creative space. They imagine themselves into the future, free of the dogma, clichés and cloy neo-classicisms of current ‘improvised music’ and ‘free jazz’. ** Kelley, R.D.G. (2012) ‘Ahmed Abdul-Malik’s Islamic Experimentalism’ in Africa Speaks, America Answers: Modern Jazz in Revolutionary Times. Cambridge: Harvard University Press: 91-119 talks about this in his brief but fascinating study. --- Joel Grip / bass Antonin Gerbal / drums Pat Thomas / piano Seymour Wright / saxophone --- Recorded live at Hagenfesten in Dala-Floda, Sweden, August 6, 2016 by Arve Birkeland. Mixed at Studio206.de by Patrick Petzold Photography and design by Sven-Åke Johansson. Produced by Joel Grip and Seymour Wright. Sleeve notes by Robert Levin. 

أحمد Ahmed – New Jazz Imagination

أحمد [Ahmed] – the quartet of Pat Thomas, Antonin Gerbal, Joel Grip and Seymour Wright – make music of heavy rhythm, repetition and syncopation set deep into an understanding of jazz and the obscure depths of its history. Across the 2 LPs which make up ‘Super Majnoon [East Meets West] ’the group work and rework the music of the late musician Ahmed Abdul-Malik to create a stamping, swinging, relentlessly propulsive record where profundity and physicality root right back to ecstatic feeling.  Abdul-Malik was a NYC bassist, oudist, composer, educator and philosopher who fused aspects of American, Arabic and East African thought, ethics, meanings and beliefs in open and experimental ways to make vital, forward leaning jazz. [Ahmed] reimagine the notes of Malik as they push for new ground. Melodies respirate, swell, escalate and combust in a driving jazz which yes is technical, yes is accomplished, but ultimately just foot-to-the-floor swings.  ‘Super Majnoon [East Meets West]’ is a title fused from the leader of the Master Musicians of Jajouka Bechir Attar’s description of [Ahmed] after hearing them in Switzerland last year (Majnoon is the arabic slang for ‘crazy’), and Abdul-Malik’s 1959 album East Meets West. Arriving as a double LP, the first comprises studio recordings of [Ahmed] at Hong Kong’s Empty Gallery in 2018 and the second a scorched live recording at OTO from August 2018. The record features photos by Bert Glinnand Taku Unamiand ‘in and out’ liner notes by James G. Spady – historian and journalist from Philadelphia, the author of books on Marcus Garvey and the trilogy of groundbreaking books on hip hop (Nation Conscious Rap, Street Conscious Rap, The Global Cypha).  --- [Ahmed] are: PAT THOMAS / piano  ANTONIN GERBAL / drums  JOEL GRIP / bass  SEYMOUR WRIGHT / alto saxophone  --- LP 1 recorded by David Sum at Empty Gallery Hong, March 31, 2018. LP 2 recorded by Paul Skinner at Café OTO London, August 25, 2018. LP1 mixed by David Sum. LP 2 mixed by Pat Thomas. Mastered by James Dunn. Liner notes © James G. Spady. Cover photo © Burt Glinn/Magnum Photos. Design by Maja Larsson. Produced by John Hawthorn, Jens Löwius and Seymour Wright.

Ahmed – Super Majnoon [East Meets West]

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