18

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams

Mike Jurkovic By

Sign in to view read count
Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams
Oud-master Anouar Brahem's instantly intoxicating, Blue Maqams, caps off a truly remarkable year for ECM Records. Just think, the label's release schedule this year included essential recordings by Benedikt Jahnel Trio's The Invariant, Django Bates' breakthrough The Study of Touch, Colin Vallon Trio's Danse, Vijay Iyer Sextet's Far From Over, and Gary Peacock's Tangents, all of them at once mysterious, challenging, and ultimately rewarding upon each listen.

A magam defines traditional Arab musical phrases, tones, notes and melodies but eschews control of rhythm, making all these blue maqams, these tightly composed universes, light years of inspiration and interpretation for Brahem's three daring cohorts, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Jack DeJohnette and the mischievous creativity of pianist Bates. They deliver non-stop.

Startling in mood, movement, clarity, and intent, "Opening Day" unwinds Blue Maqams from an ancient space, a too-near distant limbo akin to The Doors "The End," revealing its hues slowly. Brahem with the dark sketches, DeJohnette working his cymbals as only DeJohnette can, with the bell-like tones of an old monk's gong, and Bates, serving as both wingman and foil, brings his curious, humorous lyricism and bold style into play on this and all succeeding tracks. "La Nuit" is an exquisite beauty, Holland setting free his partners to search beyond their parameters. Written for Jan Garberek in 1992, Brahem re-imagines "Bahia" as trio only. "Bom Dia Rio" is a full blown groove, driven by the old master rhythm section and Bates' ceaseless imagination. There's even some rock n roll eight minutes into "Unexpected Outcome" as the moody roll fades back and DeJohnette kicks in with the beat. The elegant piano/oud duet, "The Recovered Road to Alsham" is just that. Immensely captivating.

Track Listing

Opening Day; La Nuit; Blue Maqams; Bahia; La Passante; Bom Dia Rio; Persepoli's Mirage; The Recovered Road to Al-Sham; Unexpected Outcome.

Personnel

Anouar Brahem: oud; Dave Holland: upright bass; Jack De Johnette: drums; Django Bates: piano.

Album information

Title: Blue Maqams | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: ECM Records

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Hug!
Hug!
Matt Wilson Quartet
Read Touch & Go
Touch & Go
Susan Tobocman
Read The Ilkley Suite
The Ilkley Suite
Jamil Sheriff
Read Moving Through Worlds
Moving Through Worlds
Fiona Joy Hawkins
Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read Sleepy Town
Sleepy Town
Jamie Pregnell
Read Momento
Momento
Dave Milligan
Read Peace
Peace
Spirit Fingers

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.