Sometimes, western attempts to blend Middle Eastern styles with Jazz can be a bit suspect. Especially if, as is the case here, the album title contains the word ‘Oriental’…
Aping traditional sounds and styles needs to be respectful – and importantly, it needs to work!
In this case, I feel that both criteria are satisfied – which checks out considering that Lloyd Miller is something of an expert in the sphere of Middle Eastern music. Of course, individual cultures have produced better players, but not many will have mastered such a diverse range of styles and instruments.
The song utilises a santur, which is a kind of dulcimer/zither thing (sort of like a guitar).
It’s a hypnotic effect. To start with, the song is a cascade of eerie twangs, until the more recognisable western jazz elements such as the bass and drums enter the scene.
This track is seriously catchy – no wonder the album this is from, 1968’s Oriental Jazz, is now so sought after!