Roger King Mozian – Oriental Cha Cha / Sirocco (7″)
Roger ‘King’ Mozian was an American trumpeter, percussionist and band leader, born in New York as the son of Turkish immigrants with Armenian roots. He started his musical career playing in Jazz and Latin bands during the 40’s and at a very young age he composed several American standards, many of which bear the undelible sound of the Middle East. His “Asia Minor” and “Desert Dance” became bestsellers into the long-run Broadway musical revue. His talent and sparkling compositions inspired great jazz men and latin music icons like Machito and Tito Rodriguez. Despite his relatively short life, he left some impressive musical artifacts. Mozian, a versatile jack of many sounds, loved blending modern popular dances like twist, rhumba, mambo and cha cha with Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern music. Some of the highlights of these ventures were incorporated on the compilation Lp “A Musical Odyssey” released in the early 60’s by the Greek-American NINA label. At that time Mozian scouted the talented Greek bouzouki player Yannis Tatassopoulos at one of the many “Bouzouki Bistros” dotting Manhattan’s night club arena and invited him in the studio to play Greek traditional dances like “Tsamiko” and “Tsifteteli” (Belly Dance) over latin rhythms with a fabulous session band (uncredited here unfortunately). The result of the blending musical traditions is astonishing. The way the arrangements by Mozian have been spun around the acrobacy on the bouzouki strings by Tatassopoulos is exorbitant. The reissuer discovered this Lp in Athens during a digging trip and was immediately blown away by the true musical hybrid and the quality of the early recording sound. The idea of pairing two of the heaviest burners from this Lp on a 7” Dj double-sider came up spontaneously.
These recordings are a beautiful example of the many bridges that have steadily emerged between different original cultures in New York City ever since the rising of the metropole up until today. The story continuous…
A Oriental Cha Cha