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The title of Mulatu Astatke’s album, his first for an international label, seems to promise that he will follow in the footsteps of Miles Davis, fusing classical colourations with big band ambition and solo virtuosity.

To some extent, he delivers: Ethiopia’s musical heritage can be heard on ‘Hagar Fiker’; his English band Step Ahead are brassy and sharp, and Astatke takes endless vibraphone solos.

No disaster, but not quite a breakthrough.

Mulatu Astatke

Sketches Of Ethiopia

(Jazz Village)

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