Ahmed Abdul-Malik, Spellbound (Status)
Of Sudanese heritage, the bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik (1927-1993) was born Jonathan Timms in Brooklyn. After working with Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk, among others, Abdul-Malik studied music of other cultures. He was among the first to incorporate Middle Eastern and Indian influences into jazz. Except for a straight-ahead blues, this 1965 album consists of themes from movies: “Spellbound,” “Never on Sunday,” “Body and Soul” and “Delilah.” Sudanese oud player Hamza el Din enhances the melding of musical dialects. As mentioned in passing here a few weeks ago, Abdul-Malik and saxophonist Lucky Thompson had in common an appreciation for Paul Neves, a pianist whose work on Spellbound makes it all the more regrettable that he died little known in the 1980s. Neves, cornetist/violinist Ray Nance and saxophonist Seldon Powell are quite at home in the exotic mix. It’s good to have this available again.