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Anouar Brahem: Le Pas du Chat Noir

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Anouar Brahem knows perfectly the formula to condense in the air the fragrance of incense, the visual impression of an orange-colored sky over the adobe terraces in Tunis, and a sea of reminiscences shaken up by his melodies. His music seems to be languid, but its lassitude takes you in, absorbs you, and softly converts any emotion that could seem instantaneous and banal unless the notes of his oud didn't float in the air.

On his seventh album recorded for ECM, Brahem blendes the sounds of Khomsa (ECM, 1995) and Thimar (ECM, 1998)—in which he experimented with the approach between the traditional Arabian and Islamic music and jazz—with the maturity of the sound and the personal style reached in his last work, Astrakan Café (ECM, 2000). The phrases of Francois Couturier at the piano mislead us and makes us think we are listening to classical music—maybe Albaniz, maybe Satie—and just in a measured moment, the oud of Brahem fascinates us and immerses us in the roots of Arabian music. Suddenly, in the fourth phrase, we become aware that we have fallen into a trap we cannot get away from.

A meditation, an emotional dialog between two cultures that Jean-Louis Matinier embellishes with accordion melodies.


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