1 of 10

View slideshow i

Favorite Sessions

Daniel Freedman: Lessons From Motoring In MaliWBGO




  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/156164333/156209999" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

The itinerant path of a touring musician is nothing new. Drummer Daniel Freedman has walked that walk with New York jazz groups, salsa units, forro bands and on international tours with Angelique Kidjo. He has also taken the road less travelled – by bus.

"I was in Mali in 1997, and definitely had a few epic bus trips," Freedman says. "What I was told would be an eight-hour ride was closer to 30-something hours. No one else seemed to be complaining about how packed the bus was or that all the animals were on the roof. All the things we Westerners are not used to. That was the first time I went."

Bamako By Bus, Freedman's latest project, features a dozen other musicians with hectic schedules, including bassist Meshell Ndegeocello. "I spoke to Meshell about playing on a couple of tunes," Freedman says. "She was so enthusiastic about playing in general. It was inspiring. It was motivation to say, 'Let's do this.'"

And he did. What started as obsessive tinkering in his project studio became the foundation of Bamako By Bus. First, Avishai Cohen played trumpet and stacked melodies over Freedman's grooves. Then Lionel Loueke applied a coat of playful and brilliant guitar with vocals. Finally, those bus trips through the Sahel prepared Freedman for completing his task. "The recording process itself was chaotic," Freedman says. "People were coming and going all day long. I had different percussionists and singers coming in and out. 'This guy's gotta leave at that time.' 'Can we get a take?' But people were really generous with their talent and their time."

Freedman brought some of the musicians from Bamako By Bus together for a WBGO studio session. It was a small miracle that this happened at all. Get on the bus!

Set List
  • "Bamako By Bus"
  • "All Brothers"
  • "Elegba Wa"
  • "Alona"
  • Daniel Freedman – drums
  • Lionel Loueke – guitar/vocals
  • Anat Cohen – clarinet/soprano saxophone
  • Aviahai Cohen – trumpet/effects
  • Jason Lindner – piano/Fender Rhodes
  • Omer Avital – bass
  • Gilmar Gomes – percussion
  • Recorded June 22, 2012 at WBGO
  • Producer and Host: Josh Jackson
  • Recording Engineer: Michael Downes
[+] read more[-] less

More From Jazz

Corky Hale appears on the cover of her album Corky Hale Plays George Gershwin & Vernon Duke. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Corky Hale On Piano Jazz

The pioneering pianist, harpist, flutist and cellist has worked with Mel Tormé and Billie Holiday.

Listen Loading… 57:51
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/425725724/425870258" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Dwike Mitchell (left), pictured with longtime collaborator Willie Ruff. Vincent Oneppo/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Vincent Oneppo/Courtesy of the artist

Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz

Dwike Mitchell On Piano Jazz

The pianist joins Marian McPartland to perform "Lush Life" and "Don't Worry 'Bout Me."

Listen Loading… 57:53
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/419545096/419554645" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

Members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra play an Exquisite Corpse at Woodlawn Cemetery as part of Make Music New York on June 21, 2015. Polina Yamshchikov/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Polina Yamshchikov/NPR

Jazz Night In America

Jazz Lives At Duke Ellington's Resting Place

See young jazz musicians honor their elders at a cemetery that's more like a hall of fame.

Jimmy Greene. Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Jimmy Katz/Courtesy of the artist

Jazz Night In America: The Radio Program

Jimmy Greene Remembers A 'Beautiful Life'

The saxophonist's latest album honors his 6-year-old daughter, killed in the 2012 Newtown shooting.

Listen Loading… 57:25
  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/418925379/418929187" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
Back To Top