Salah Ragab & The Cairo Jazz Band - Egypt Strut LP
Release Date: November 19th, 2021.
Strut present the definitive edition of the 1973 Egyptian jazz classic, Egypt Strut by Salah Ragab and Cairo Jazz Band. Inspired by a concert in Cairo by Randy Weston in 1967 encouraging Pan-African unity, drummer Ragab, Eduard "Edu" Vizvari, a Czech jazz musician, and Hartmut Geerken of Goethe Institut vowed to create Egypt's first jazz big band. Following the Arab-Israeli war, Ragab became a Major in the Egyptian army and had unparalleled access to the military's 3000 musicians spanning Upper and Lower Egypt, along with a wide range of instruments. Part of the barracks were christened the Jazz House and, following a crash course in jazz history by Geerken, the Cairo Jazz Band was born, playing their first concert at Ewart Memorial Hall at the American University in 1969.
Further inspired by Sun Ra & His Arkestra's first visit to Egypt in 1971, Ragab recorded an album for the Egyptian Ministry Of Culture a year later, entitled gyptian Jazz, later released as Egypt Strut, a perfect fusion of jazz with Arabic modes with tracks referencing Islamic festivals, Egyptian landmarks and friends and family dear to Ragab. The Wire's Francis Gooding summarises the album as "esoteric African American Egyptianism and radically spiritualised modal jazz taken up by Ragab as the tool for a form of mystical Egyptian nationalism – a triumphalist military jazz, angled in Ra-like fashion towards the Gods of the New Kingdom."
This expanded version of the album features eight extra tracks recorded during associated sessions. It is released in its original Prism Music Unit artwork for the first time and is packaged with the original house bag designs, an original mini-booklet describing the tracks and an 8pp over-sized booklet featuring rare photos and extensive new liner notes by Francis Gooding.