With a program of compositions by Rabih Abou-Khalil and Joachim Kühn, Journey to the Centre of an Egg
shifts to various parts of the globe, combining mainstream jazz with world music. Most of the flavor in their creations centers on the Middle Eastern tradition. This comes as no surprise, since Abou-Khalil was born in Lebanon and lived there until adulthood. But the session also includes flavors from other areas, including Spain, the Caribbean, South Africa, and parts of South America.
Abou-Khalil's oud takes on the persona of a blues guitarist on "I'm Better Off Without You, which finds him expressing heartfelt instrumental wails and moans. Both he and Kühn take their time with this one, letting the spaces grow and giving their vibrant energy plenty of room.
Natwasheh and Kadwasheh finds the two players rambling, as if traveling on a desert caravan to some exotic place far removed from home. This, the longest piece on the program, has the most impact. The moods change from light and airy to crisp and forceful, as both piano and oud sail majestically on their way. Kühn moves to alto saxophone on this exciting number for a dramatic close. Percussionist Jarrod Cagwin's colorful kit, which he utilizes throughout the recording, is augmented by Wolfgang Reisinger's trap drums here and on the next tune.
Folk music plays a considerable role in the creations that Abou-Khalil, Kühn and Cagwin have put together here. The pitch distribution possible from an oud allows Abou-Khalil considerable freedom. Thus, oud, piano and percussion revel in their respective theaters of operation, creating a musical landscape representing influences from a sizable portion of the world's music.