Beautiful melodious contemporary/ethnic jazz albums

Your reccomendations highly appreciated.

recently enjoying anouar brahem’s oud - try blue maqams album with dave holland jack de johnette and django bates


Have a look at the ECM thread… Sound Liaison also have some nice stuff…

Have a listen to Shafer Youssef, who also plays the oud - and is self taught - he’s obviously a good teacher!
A personal favourite is Les Ondes Orientales, with Tigran Hamasyen on Piano and Marc Guiliani on drums. Worth a look on YouTube.

Hadouk trio comes to my mind
Randy Weston and the Ancestors

Omar Sosa
Remember Shakti
Renaud García Fons
Pat Metheny ( in some kind)

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I’m a huge Afro-Jazz fan, not sure if this fits your ‘ethnic’ label.
Any afro-jazz regional genre does it for me, but as I lived there & have a lot of connections, South Africa makes up most of my collection.
Its not all beautiful or melodious, but most is easy listening & most important fun toe tapping dance inducing happy jammin’ musik

My first pick is a famous SA artist, Hugh Masekela, flugelhorn, trumpet & voice. In his early days he was living in (apartheid) exile & spent years establishing his own take on the SA jazz genre. However I would go for his 1994 album “Hope” a live recording at Blues Alley Washington DC. On this album he moves away from his normal jazz style & into the traditional mbaqanga (rural Zulu roots music) & some easy funk/jazz.
Second pick is an absolute must have for any Afro-Jazz fan, “Best of Papa Wemba”. Papa Wemba was from Congo & thats his music style, jazz influenced Congolese rumba, soukous & ndombolo. Yes its a ‘best of’, but if this doesn’t stir your toe tap muscles then you must be deceased.

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The single most important figure in “ethno-jazz” is Fela Kuti from Nigeria, inventor of Afrobeat and a gifted keyboardist, sax player, singer, composer, arranger and also a hugely important/influential activist across Africa. As what one might quaintly term a “third world” musician, Fela is second only to Bob Marley in terms of his cultural and political impact.

Also of interest:
from Ethiopia, Mulatu Astatke (vibes)
from Lebanon, Rabih Abouu Khalil (oud, flute)
fom Tunisia, Anouar Brahem (oud)
from Turkey, Okay Temiz (percussion)
from Turkey, Selim Sesner (clarinet, zurna)
from Palestine, Kamilya Jubran (oud, qanun)
from Algeria, Karim Ziad (drummer and percussionist, who also sings and plays guitar and gimbri)
from Lebanon, Ibrahim Maalouf (trumpet)

Hopefully that should keep you busy for a bit!



Here are some that I own and hopefully they help you find what you are looking for. You can also do searches on the individual musicians playing on albums and expand the search… Good luck.

Ghazal - The Rain with Kayhan Kalhor (Kamancheh), Shujaat Husain Khan (Sitar, Vocals) and Sandeep Das (Tabla).

Jan Garbarek - Ragas and Sagas with Jan Garbarek (Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone), Ustad Fateh Ali Khan (Voice), Ustad Shaukat Hussain (Tabla), Ustad Nazim Ali Khan (Sarangi), Deepika Thathaal (Voice) and [Manu Katché (Drums).

Jon Balke - Siwan with Jon Balke (Keyboards, Conductor), Barokksolistene: Amina Alaoui (Vocal), Jon Hassell (Trumpet, Electronics), Kheir Eddine M’Kachiche (Violin), Helge Norbakken (Percussion), Pedram Khavar Zamini (Zarb), Bjarte Eike (Violin), Per Buhre (Violin), Peter Spissky (Violin), Anna Ivanovna Sundin (Violin), Miloš Valent (Violin), Rastko Roknic (Viola), Joel Sundin (Viola), Tom Pitt (Violoncello, Kate Hearne (Violoncello), Mattias Frostensson Double-Bass), Andreas Arend (Theorboe, Archlute) and Hans Knut Sveen (Harpsichord, Clavichord).

Amina Alaoui - Arco Iris with Amina Alaoui (vocals, daf), Saïfallah Ben Abderrazak (violin), Sofiane Negra (oud), José Luis Montón (flamenco guitar), Eduardo Miranda (mandolin) and Idriss Agnel (percussion, electric guitar).

Anouar Brahem - The Astounding Eyes of Rita with Anouar Brahem (Oud), Klaus Gesing (Bass Clarinet), Björn Meyer (Bass) and Khaled Yassine (Darbouka, Bendir). …lots of recommendations for Anouar check out his albums!

Jan Garbarek - Madar with Jan Garbarek (Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone), Anouar Brahem (Oud) and Ustad Shaukat Hussain (Tabla).

Stephen Micus - Desert Poems and Nomad Songs

Zakir Hussain - Making Music with Zakir Hussain (Tabla, Percussion, Voice), Hariprasad Chaurasia (Flutes), John McLaughlin (Acoustic Guitar) and Jan Garbarek (Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone).

Thank you very much for your posts sent so far.

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