92

Attab Haddad Ensemble: Days Distinctive

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Attab Haddad Ensemble: Days Distinctive It is rare to find a musician who, on his debut recording, is already confirming his stature as one of best ones in his field. London-based/Iraqi-descended oudist Attab Haddad is such a musician, honing his knowledge of the traditional Arabic legacy with oud masters including Iraqi Ahmed Mukhtar and Egyptians Nihad El-Sayed and Nasseer Shamma. He is also a member of violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva's neo-classical ensemble and a founding member of the flamenco-Arabic-Indian group Alcazaba.

But it is his innovative new attitude to the oud that marks him along other great contemporary players such as Anouar Brahem and Rahim Alhaj, Haddad's complete mastery of the instrument—with a poetic personal musical language and natural sense of openness— organically placing it into new genres such as chamber jazz, flamenco and contemporary music. This comes together with strong and fresh compositions, wise arrangements that leave enough room for all the melodies to blossom, and the wisdom to find the right musicians to enhance Haddad's vibrant musical vision.

This recording features Haddad's quintet, augmented with many guest players. Haddad begins "Awakening" with a beautiful solo that patiently introduces his tight and passionate ensemble, while ornamenting and wisely nurturing his flowing musical ideas. Even though the music relies on an Arabic scales, it has its own sense of swing and new music courtesy of cellist Naomi Wright's exquisite playing. On "Looking at the Wind" and "Por Que? No Se!," Haddad's poetic playing lightly references flamenco music while introducing the theme, and later through the gentle interplay with Wright and flutist Philippe Barnes. The title piece—in both its studio recording and longer live version—is full of drama, adventure and humor, and displays Haddad's skills as a sensitive storyteller in full control of this elaborate tale's ingredients and its progression.

Together with Alcazaba partner, flamenco guitarist Ramon Ruiz, Haddad presents an enchanting playful melody on "Por Tangos," with leisurely yet virtuosic playing. Later, the ensemble revisits Haddad's Alcazaba composition, "Aire Del Oud," with joyful passion. Based on Turkish traditionalism, "Longa-esque" provides an excellent opportunity for Haddad and his ensemble to bridge the original's sophistication with an update of bold rhythmic ideas. Two friends from Rakcheyeva's ensemble—the uniquely expressive leader and pianist Kit Downes— guest on Haddad's "Clock," originally written for that ensemble and, here, emphasizing the timeless quality of the oudist's melodies.

2012 has only begun but Days Distinctive is already a strong contender for this year's list of best releases.

Track Listing: Awakening; Looking at the Wind; Oh Georgina; Days Distinctive; Por Que? No Se!; Por Tangos; Longa-esque; Clock; Aire Del Oud; Days Distinctive (Live); Goldilocks' Porridge.

Personnel: Attab Haddad: oud, plamas; Philippe Barnes: flute; Matt Ridley: double bass; Naomi Wright: cello (1-6, 8); Ben Davis: cello (10, 11); Vasilis Sarikis: percussion (except 6), voice (5, 11); Fanar Haddad: khishbah (3); Ramon Ruiz: flamenco guitar (6); Genevieve Wilkins: cajon (1), percussion and palmas (6); Sabina Rakcheyeva: violin (8); Kit Downes: piano (8).

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Weave Records


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Lea Áigi" CD/LP/Track Review Lea Áigi
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 23, 2016
Read "Oakland/Lisboa" CD/LP/Track Review Oakland/Lisboa
by John Sharpe
Published: August 19, 2016
Read "Stephan Crump's Rhombal" CD/LP/Track Review Stephan Crump's Rhombal
by Mark Corroto
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Peace
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 18, 2016
Read "Sureste" CD/LP/Track Review Sureste
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: October 2, 2016
Read "Pass It On" CD/LP/Track Review Pass It On
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: May 11, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!