All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

10

Michel Sajrawy: Floating City

James Nadal By

Sign in to view read count
In his ongoing quest to create a singular jazz alignment bridging traditional and contemporary music of his homeland, Israeli guitarist Michel Sajrawy explores the multicultural background of the city of Nazareth, in Floating City. Though Jerusalem gets all the headlines and global attention, Nazareth stands apart as a city epitomizing co-existence in a region ravaged by religious strife, and turmoil.

With his previous releases exposing a western slant on Arabic maqam music, this record has Sajrawy burrowing into his heritage, playing the music with a more exotic sensibility. In a production twist, he doubles on bass throughout, (save for one track) and displays virtuosity on that instrument as well. A Palestinian folkloric wedding ceremony is presented in the title track, with Arabic call and response setting up his blazing guitar work. Make no mistake, though he is a middle-eastern musician, Sajrawy is heavily influenced by British prog rock, American blues and jazz, and deftly brings that into the mix.

"Bride Of The Galilee," is a minor blues dedicated to Nazareth, his beloved city, on the banks of the sea. There is a suspended middle section where Wassim Odeh on the oud, and Suhail Nassar on qanoun, display an engaging interplay, before slowly coming back to the shore. The sensation of mysterious travel describes "On The Road," as images of caravans and camels come to mind. Sajrawy exhibits his jazz repertoire on "Life Smiles Back," keyboardist Loai Abu Sinni complementing the arrangement with soulful organ lines.

The somber melody on the melancholy ballad "Absence," conjures reflections of sitting by the sea, gazing into the past, missing someone from a lifetime ago. Sajrawy brings back his fusion mode, accompanied by Sinni on keys, and drummer Stas Zilberman, on "Zanjaran," and "Earth Wind & Fire," which are both more jazz inclined numbers. Guest bassist Sahar Anak is featured on the bluesy "I'm Not Sure," an stimulating composition that slips into a hard-bop piano segment, augmented by the oud in a true amalgamation of two worlds. They return to the Arabian maqam with "Sahra," this time joined by Wiasam Arram on darbuka, highlighted by Arabic chanting, in homage to the vast desert which dominates much of North Africa.

As with any consummate musician, Michel Sajrawy continues to evolve, not only on his instruments, but as a person seeking knowledge and wisdom. The music he refers to, and chooses to expand upon, hails from an ancient era, which has withstood the test of time, yet is pliable into contemporary forms. In this ode to Nazareth, he relies on the power of music to bring people together, an effort worth applauding.

Track Listing: Floating City; Bride Of The Galilee; On The Road; Life Smiles Back; Absence; Zanjaran; Earth, Wind, & Fire; I’m Not Sure; Sahra.

Personnel: Michel Sajrawy: guitar, bass; Wassim Odeh: oud; Suhail Nassar: qanoun; Loai Abu Sinni: keyboards; Sahar Anak: bass (8); Wisam Arram: darbuka (9); Stas Zilberman: drums.

Title: Floating City | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Self Produced

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Bride Of The Galilee

Bride Of The Galilee

Michel Sajrawy
Writings On The Wall

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Floating City

Floating City

Self Produced
2017

buy
Arabop

Arabop

Dasam Studio
2012

buy
 

Yathrib

Blue Note
2006

buy

Related Articles

Read Rumah Batu CD/LP/Track Review
Rumah Batu
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 17, 2018
Read The Bat Swings! CD/LP/Track Review
The Bat Swings!
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Terrestrial CD/LP/Track Review
Terrestrial
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Get Somethin' CD/LP/Track Review
Get Somethin'
by Geno Thackara
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Bansangu Orchestra CD/LP/Track Review
Bansangu Orchestra
by Roger Farbey
Published: July 17, 2018
Read Smart Grid CD/LP/Track Review
Smart Grid
by Karl Ackermann
Published: July 16, 2018
Read "Down Memory Lane, Vols 3 and 4" CD/LP/Track Review Down Memory Lane, Vols 3 and 4
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 17, 2018
Read "Descansado - Songs For Films" CD/LP/Track Review Descansado - Songs For Films
by John Ephland
Published: April 19, 2018
Read "Italy 2016" CD/LP/Track Review Italy 2016
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "For 2 Akis" CD/LP/Track Review For 2 Akis
by Mark Sullivan
Published: March 3, 2018
Read "Works for Two Chapels" CD/LP/Track Review Works for Two Chapels
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 27, 2018
Read "Meditation Tape" CD/LP/Track Review Meditation Tape
by Samuel Stroup
Published: December 23, 2017