This report was broadcast on BBC World Service on August 16, 2010.
The pairing of British fusion band The Heliocentrics and Ethiopian jazzman Mulatu Astatke was one of last year’s most inspired and unexpected collaborations. To follow it, the Londoners teamed up with another jazz legend, Lloyd Miller, best known to serious record collectors for an obscure – and now rather valuable – disc, Oriental Jazz, that he recorded in the 1960s. That album was a meeting of traditional Persian music and American jazz, years ahead of its time. As Andrew Purcell reports, it came about entirely by chance, when Miller’s family moved to Iran, just as he was starting to get serious about music.