Happy 50th: Herbie Mann, IMPRESSIONS OF THE MIDDLE EAST
50 years ago this month, Herbie Mann released the album that found him using his skills as a jazz flautist to further listeners’ education of music from the Middle East.
Mann had a long history of taking his flute and using it to get jazzy with various types of music. Sometimes it was the music of other lands, including Brazil, Africa, and Japan, sometimes it was the blues and soul from home. In this case, Mann took a musical expedition to the Middle East, and he did so with quite a few notable sideman in tow, including bassist Reggie Workman, conga player Carlos “Potato” Valdes, drummer Bruno Carr, and legendary guitarist Roy Ayers.
The Middle Eastern sound was not one which had explored a great deal by American artists at that time, be they jazz musicians or otherwise, and Mann put together a musical concoction that helped introduce his fans to something different. Of course, he did that on just about every album, but there’s no question that IMPRESSIONS OF THE MIDDLE EAST is one that particularly stands out.