The Prester John Sessions

The Prester John Sessions

by Tommy T.

CD(Bonus Tracks)

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The Prester John Sessions

While Ethiopian bassist Tommy T. might have been responsible for some reggae insinuations in the grooves of Gypsy rockers Gogol Bordello, his work with those Balkan bad boys could hardly have indicated the depth and breadth of the influences he brings to bear on his solo debut, The Prester John Sessions. Prester John was the name of a mythical Ethiopian king from the Middle Ages, whose supposedly bountiful supply of riches remained a tantalizing concept to the Europeans who perpetuated the legend. For Tommy T.'s maiden voyage, he takes on the role of a musical Prester John, flaunting the sonic riches of his homeland for enraptured Westerners to marvel at. But while the bassist/bandleader -- who also plays everything from keyboards to bouzouki here -- digs deep into his roots for the traditional sounds he brings forth on such tracks as "Oromo Dub" (where he's joined by Ethiopian singer Abdi Nuressa) and "Tribute to a King," which pays homage to legendary Ethiopian vocalist Tlahun Gessesse, there's even more to the picture. The Prester John Sessions is an intoxicating blend of Ethiopian folk styles, heavy dub reggae rhythms, gut-punching funk grooves, and horn-heavy Afro-beat. The Abyssinian Roots Collective that Tommy has put together for this syncretic endeavor sews everything into a seamless flow, but even when his Gogol Bordello pals pop up on the dub-drenched remix for "Lifers," the album's final cut, the global groove that's been established throughout the rest of the tracks retains its forward motion. Ultimately, Tommy T. takes this opportunity to balance between playing musical ambassador and musical adventurer, freely mixing the sounds he's been carrying inside him all his life with those he's absorbed along his journey.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/10/2009
Label: Easy Star
UPC: 0657481102121
catalogNumber: 1021
Rank: 200581

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tommy T.   Primary Artist,Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Bouzouki,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals
Mikias Abebayehu   Percussion,Drums
Henock Temesgen   Bass
DeAndre Shaifer   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Pedro Erazo   Percussion
Jorga Mesfin   Tenor Saxophone,EWI

Technical Credits

Tommy T.   Composer
Eddie "Headdie" Ocampo   Art Direction
Frankie Lievaart   Vocal Recording
Eric "Smidi" Smith   Executive Producer
Eugene Hütz   Composer,Lyricist
Henock Temesgen   Composer
Steve Steckler   Engineer
Drew Doucette   Engineer
Michael Goldwasser   Producer,Executive Producer
Lem Oppenheimer   Executive Producer,Art Direction
Remy Gerstein   Executive Producer
Pedro Erazo   Composer,Lyricist
Tommy T.   Producer
Derek Wille   Engineer

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