18

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams

Mike Jurkovic By

Sign in to view read count
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.

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

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Album Reviews
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Extended Analysis
Live Reviews
Album Reviews
Interviews
Album Reviews
Read more articles
Blue Maqams

Blue Maqams

ECM Records
2017

buy
Souvenance

Souvenance

ECM Records
2015

buy
 

Vague

ECM Records
2003

buy
Le Pas Du Chat Noir

Le Pas Du Chat Noir

ECM Records
2002

buy

Related Articles

Read Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972 Album Reviews
Live in Newcastle, December 8, 1972
By John Kelman
April 19, 2019
Read HUJE 2018 Album Reviews
HUJE 2018
By Jack Bowers
April 19, 2019
Read Farallon Album Reviews
Farallon
By Jerome Wilson
April 19, 2019
Read Burning Meditation Album Reviews
Burning Meditation
By John Sharpe
April 18, 2019
Read Remembering Cecil Album Reviews
Remembering Cecil
By Dan McClenaghan
April 18, 2019
Read Apophenia Album Reviews
Apophenia
By Roger Farbey
April 18, 2019
Read Transcending the Sum Album Reviews
Transcending the Sum
By Chris May
April 17, 2019