369

Anouar Brahem: Le Pas Du Chat Noir

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Anouar Brahem: Le Pas Du Chat Noir The outstanding clarity of Anouar Brahem's new trio record demonstrates the composer's ability to combine several cultural influences without sounding contrived or disjointed. For this project, Brahem composed 12 pieces for the most unusual combination of piano, accordion, and oud (a type of lute). The music came out of a long period of listening and composing on piano in Tunis, where Brahem found himself unable to return to his voice on the oud after an intense session for 1997's Thimar. As he developed his ideas, Brahem returned to the oud and assembled a final version which also includes pianist François Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier.

What's most remarkable and surprising about Le Pas Du Chat Noir ("the black cat's footsteps") is that music composed with such attention to detail can be transmitted through the right hands into a thoroughly improvised feel. Make no mistake, this is chamber music: understated, deliberate small-group interplay. But at the same time, it offers dramatic waves of sound that wash ashore in tidal fashion. The overtones of the string instruments here allow an effective means to color notes, while the accordion provides a feeling of breath and inspiration. As for the trans-cultural underpinnings of Le Pas Du Chat Noir, it's hard to separate the intertwined strands—as hard as it is to dissect the culture of Tunisia itself. But the rhythms suggest the striding pulse of North Africa and the lilting lightness of Eastern Europe; the harmonies often occupy the ground of Northern European neoclassical minimalism; and melodies regularly take advantage of the minor modes of Arab and Middle Eastern music. (And, of course, each instrument brings with it a specific musical tradition, in this specific case straddling the boundaries that make up post-colonial Tunisian musical culture.)

Le Pas Du Chat Noir is a recording of exquisite sensitivity and nuance, tilted toward composition despite an palpable improvisational feel. Brahem has thrown a most unusual cocktail of musical elements into his blender in order to create this chamber music. The record may deviate far enough from the jazz tradition to disappoint die-hard afficionados of improvised solos, standards, and swing. But if you're willing take Le Pas at face value, it's mesmerizingly beautiful.


Track Listing: Le pas du chat noir; De tout ton coeur; Leila au pays du carrousel; Pique-nique a Nagpur; C'est ailleurs; Toi qui salt; L'arbre qui voit; Un point bleu; Les ailes du Bourak; Rue du d

Personnel: Anouar Brahem: oud; Fran

Title: Le Pas Du Chat Noir | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: ECM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Someone Else CD/LP/Track Review Someone Else
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 27, 2017
Read Falling Forward CD/LP/Track Review Falling Forward
by James Nadal
Published: July 27, 2017
Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read "Flowers" CD/LP/Track Review Flowers
by Mark Corroto
Published: September 19, 2016
Read "# 1" CD/LP/Track Review # 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 24, 2017
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 31, 2016
Read "Revelation" CD/LP/Track Review Revelation
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 16, 2016
Read "The Drive" CD/LP/Track Review The Drive
by Roger Farbey
Published: November 16, 2016
Read "Such A Sky" CD/LP/Track Review Such A Sky
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: June 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.