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Lady 08:16
MRA 03:59
The Root 04:29
Zombie 06:04
Gebrselassie 09:05


Intakt CD 135

Is Africa in Zurich? The 15-piece orchestra ROOT DOWN brings together impressions and experiences of African music – more precisely, the melancholy music of homesick South African musicians in exile and the revolutionary protest music of self-conscious rebels. And Root Down combines these experiences (documents of their age) with the unbelievably wide range of individual experiences (musical and otherwise) of the fifteen musicians who have come together to create this unusual orchestra: with music of Fela Kuti, Chris Mc Gregor, Dudu Pukwana or compositions of bandleader Tommy Meier.

Switzerland seems like an unlikely place to harbor an appreciation for African sounds, but Dollar Brand and the Blue Notes first made European inroads here. Reedist Tommy Meier leads a big band exploring the connections on Root Down (Intakt 135) mixing expansive originals with tunes by Fela Kute and Dudu Pukwana. While polyrhythms abound, Meier charts his own path, mixing contemporary elements like turntable scratching and tough funk patterns, woolly free-jazz improvisation, elegant swing and the ebullient melodies of kwela and the storming licks of afrobeat. The band is terrific and features pianist Irène Schweizer.
Peter Margasak, Downbeat, March 2008


released January 1, 2008

Tommy Meier: ts, bcl, conduction
Peter Schärli: tp
Russ Johnson: tp
Marco von Orelli: tp
Hans Anliker: tb
Michael Flury: tb
Hans Koch: bcl, ss
Co Streiff: as
Jürg Wickihalder: ss
Peter Landis: ts, bs
Stephan Thelen: g, loops, samples
Philipp Schaufelberger: g
Chris Wiesendanger: keyb
Irène Schweizer: p
Herbert Kramis: b
Christian Weber: b
Jan Schlegel: eb
Fredi Flükiger: dr
Marco Käppeli: dr
Chris Jäger: perc
Trixa Arnold: turntables
Joke Lanz: turntables

Recorded live between 2004 and 2007. Mix/Editing: Willy Strehler, Tommy Meier, Will-y Klangdach Guntershausen. Mastering: Walter Schmid, Oakland Studios Winterthur. Cover art: Tommy Meier/Ornella Groebli. Graphic design: Jonas Schoder. Liner notes: Christian Rentsch. Photos: Francesca Pfeffer. Produced by Tommy Meier and Intakt Records. Executive production: Patrik Landolt


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