All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Yazz Ahmed: La Saboteuse

Chris May By

Sign in to view read count
If Miles Davis was alive today and in the studio recording Bitches Brew, the results might, just might, resemble parts of London-based Yazz Ahmed's La Saboteuse. Other approximate reference points are, during the more reflective moments, Jon Hassell and Brian Eno's Dream Theory In Malaya: Fourth World Volume 2 and Davis's In A Silent Way. But Ahmed's album is no knock-off of any of those discs—there are lengthy passages on which it does not sound remotely like either one of them—nor is it built around the kind of shape-shifting production interventions employed by Eno or by Davis's producer, Teo Macero. It is a statement in its own right, and one with substance.

Foremost among the singular elements Ahmed brings to the music is her cultural background. Raised in Bahrain by her Bahraini father and English mother, she relocated to Britain at age nine. She tentatively explored her Middle Eastern roots on her 2012 debut album, Finding My Way Home. On La Saboteuse, her use of Arabic modes and scales is more assured and her improvisations upon them more jazz-based. The result is a genuinely transcultural music, rooted in Middle Eastern and jazz traditions yet also resolutely futuristic.

The band on La Saboteuse is bigger than the one on Finding My Way Home and newly assembled. The only returnees are Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet and Corrina Silvester on percussion. Among the featured new recruits are Lewis Wright on vibraphone, Naadia Sheriff on Fender Rhodes and Samuel Hällkvist on electric guitar. Martin France is a great choice of drummer. Most of the tracks were written by Ahmed, alone or with Wright. The only cover is Radiohead's "Bloom" (Ahmed and second trumpeter Noel Langley guested on the band's 2011 album, The King Of Limbs).

When In A Silent Way was released, one hostile old-school critic condemned it as "opium music." They know a thing or two about opium in the Middle East, and in parts of London too, but La Saboteuse is a life-affirming rather than a life-denying album—not so much addictive as offering the kind of solace for the soul that repays being revisited.

Track Listing: Inhale; Jamil Jamal; Misophonia; The Space Between The Fish And The Moon; La Saboteuse; Al Emadi; Inspiration Expiration; The Lost Pearl; Bloom; Beleille; Whirling; Organ Eternal; Exhale.

Personnel: Yazz Ahmed: trumpet and quarter-tone flugelhorn; Noel Langley: trumpet; Shabaka Hutchings: bass clarinet; Lewis Wright: vibraphone; Naadia Sheriff: Fender Rhodes and Wurlitzer; Samuel Hällkvist: guitar; Dave Manington: bass guitar; Dudley Phillips: bass guitar; Martin France: drums; Corrina Silvester: percussion.

Title: La Saboteuse | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Naim Label

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Fearless And Kind CD/LP/Track Review
Fearless And Kind
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read 25th Anniversary Project CD/LP/Track Review
25th Anniversary Project
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Any Day Now CD/LP/Track Review
Any Day Now
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Adrift CD/LP/Track Review
Adrift
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Folkjazz from Finland CD/LP/Track Review
Folkjazz from Finland
by Anthony Shaw
Published: November 14, 2018
Read Circulate Susanna CD/LP/Track Review
Circulate Susanna
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 13, 2018
Read "Love & Peace" CD/LP/Track Review Love & Peace
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2018
Read "120 Onetwenty" CD/LP/Track Review 120 Onetwenty
by Jim Olin
Published: August 26, 2018
Read "Tailwind" CD/LP/Track Review Tailwind
by Gareth Thompson
Published: October 8, 2018
Read "Mellophonium Memoirs" CD/LP/Track Review Mellophonium Memoirs
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 8, 2017
Read "Spiritual Impressions" CD/LP/Track Review Spiritual Impressions
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 16, 2018
Read "Atody Man" CD/LP/Track Review Atody Man
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 9, 2018