Kalmery's brakka style, which was born in Egypt, but grew to popularity in the 1960s and ‘70s in Zaire, swings. And Kalmery approaches his music with a joy and jauntiness that's rare, pulling strands from all styles for African music, whether it's the dry guitar sound of Kenya, the rich polyrhythms of West Africa, the density of the northern deserts, or the joyful guitar and vocals that characterize so much South African music - he's a pan-African man, the continent's equivalent of Taj Mahal.
Assyrian Rose continues the style he developed on his earlier CMP release Seven Heaven, with Layne Redmond helping out on various frame drums and Steve Gorn playing bansuri and South American flutes. They are joined by Jon Clark on French horn and Howard Levy on harmonica and piano, adding a greater melodic range to the music. Glen plays his usual variety of frame drums (from Spain and Morocco), Egyptian tambourine and various other percussion instruments. The result is a cross-cultural potpourri of earth-jazz stylings, with Glen's pulsating rhythms leading. The album ends with a solo on one of Glen's tambourines, revealing his mastery of this instrument that plays such a central role in Arabic music.
The Casa Loma Orchestra was a popular American dance band active from 1927 to 1963. From 1929 until the rapid multiplication in the number of swing bands from 1935 on, the Casa Loma Orchestra was one of the top North American dance bands. With the decline of the big band business following the end of World War II, it disbanded in 1947. However, from 1957 to 1963, it re-emerged as a recording session band in Hollywood, made up of top-flight studio musicians under the direction of its most notable leader of the past, Glen Gray. The reconstituted band made a limited number appearances live and on television and recorded fifteen LP albums for Capitol Records before Gray died in 1963.