164

Rabih Abou-Khalil: Morton

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Rabih Abou-Khalil: Morton Lebanese oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil leads this exciting sextet through a session of his originals. The music, while carrying a distinctive Middle Eastern flavor, can only be called jazz. The group's spontaneity and fresh drive introduce elements that we only find in that portion of the arts where improvisation reigns supreme and swing weaves itself around every phrase.

With the title track, vocalist Gavino Murgia recalls the unique jaw harp drones and guttural emanations that were fostered so well by Dizzy Gillespie. He opens the piece a cappella. And what an exciting singer he proves to be! When the others join him, the piece builds with a cohesive spread. Tuba, accordion, clarinet, and drums turn the heat up considerably. Abou-Khalil's oud then moves in to steer and accompany. Using his voice as an additional instrument, Murgia takes vocalese to the spotlight. The music contains a timeless Arabic element that blends with jazz in much the same way that Gillespie sponsored "Night in Tunisia" and Duke Ellington sponsored "Caravan." It's exotic.

The use of tuba (instead of bass) to provide the ensemble's foundation means that you get a lighter frame of mind with a heavier pulse. There's embedded humor. Like the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's use of sousaphone to create a sound that is both unique and tradition-honored, Abou-Khalil's use of tuba in this Middle Eastern affair creates a group persona like no other.

The leader has made sure that each member of his ensemble can participate equally. At times, clarinet, accordion and tuba make way for a klezmer trip. At other times, oud, tuba and clarinet try the ethnomusicologist's patience with their universal appeal.

Abou-Khalil covers a wide range with his compositional use of threads that cross cultures. He's included blatant comedy, dramatic intensity, and sensual passion in his structures. The ensemble responds with spontaneous interpretations that flow seamlessly. Abou-Khalil's music holds something for everyone.


Track Listing: Ma Muse M'abuse; Morton's Foot; Il Ritorno del Languore; Lobotomie Mi Baba Lu; L'histoire d'un Parapluie; O Papaia Balerina; Dr. Gieler's Wiener Schnitzel; Il Sospiro; Hopping Jack; Waltz for Dubbya; The Return of the Maltese Chicken.

Personnel: Rabih Abou-Khalil- oud; Gabriele Mirabassi- clarinet; Luciano Biondini- accordion; Michel Godard- tuba; Gavino Murgia- vocals; Jarrod Cagwin- drums, frame drums.

Title: Morton | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Justin Time Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Steeped" CD/LP/Track Review Steeped
by John Eyles
Published: October 20, 2016
Read "This Could Be That" CD/LP/Track Review This Could Be That
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Onward" CD/LP/Track Review Onward
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 2, 2017
Read "Carve" CD/LP/Track Review Carve
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2017
Read "Fly South" CD/LP/Track Review Fly South
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 10, 2016
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: May 2, 2017

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.