Maurice El Medioni meets Roberto Rodriguez - Descarga Oriental: The New York Sessions
Arabian piano swirls a la Ruben Gonzalez.
Brought to you by TQMP
The Quality Music Project
The less-traveled byways of cross-cultural exploration sometimes reveal the most fascinating new horizons, and this meld of Cuban and Algerian musics does exactly that. For Descarga Oriental, Cuban-born, New York-resident percussionist Roberto Rodriguez meets Marseilles-based Algerian pianist Maurice El Medioni at the grass roots of Andalusian music, and a rainbow-hued romp of a party breaks out.
The liaison isn\'t, in fact, as strange as it might appear. Southern Spain\'s Andalucia region contributed some of Cuban music\'s formative influences, a consequence of colonial history and a subsequent degree of shared ethnicity. Andalucia itself, occupied--some might say civilised--by Moors from North Africa 900 or so years ago, is even today deeply influenced by Maghrebi culture, and some of that DNA went to Cuba along with flamenco, carnival and other Iberian musics.
But enough with the family trees. The music is the thing --joyous, hot, beat-driven and wonderfully melodic. Descarga, which literally means \"to unload\" in Spanish, is used in Cuban music to describe a jam session, and although the music on Descarga Oriental is carefully pre-structured, it has the fire and spirit of a spur-of-the-moment blowing session. El Medioni wrote all nine tunes, each reflecting both Maghrebi and French chanson influences, and Rodriguez arranged them over clave-centered Cuban rhythms --guaracha, conjunto, dengue, bembe and bolero-- as a showcase for El Medioni\'s solo piano (and to a lesser extent, Oscar Onoz\'s gloriously blowsy trumpet).
But rather than obsessing about the myriad influences, just listen to the sound of several cultures happily colliding and rejoice in the sonic delights on this record-- a total blast and a heartwarming, mixed-marriage vision of the future.
1- Oran Oran
2- Je n\'aime que toi
3- Ana Ouana
4- Oh! Ma belle
5- Tu n\'aurais jamais du
6- Moi je t\'aime toujours
8- Comme tu as change
9- C\'etait il y a longtemps
Artwork (300dpi scan), EAC log and CUE sheet included.