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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams

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Following an unusually long, five-year gap between 2009's low register-driven The Astounding Eyes of Rita and 2014's particularly ambitious orchestral collaboration, Souvenance, Tunisian oudist Anouar Brahem returns with Blue Maqams, another game-changing release on ECM Records. Change--or, in some cases, natural evolution--has never been hard to find on Brahem's previous nine albums for the label, the oudist's consistent home (barring his soundtrack to The Silences of the Palace, release in 1994 by Caroline) since his ethno-centric trio date, Barzakh (1991). ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Anouar Brahem at Jazzablanca Festival 2015

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Anouar Brahem Hippodrome Anfa Jazzablanca Festival Casablanca, MoroccoApril 20, 2015 Tunisian oudist/ composer Anouar Brahem is widely acclaimed as a pioneer of the fusion between Middle Eastern music and jazz, with a career spanning over thirty years. In the beginning of the nineties he contributed to the oud celebration spreading in the western world through a music that brought together evasive poetry with elegant arrangements. Well-versed in classical Arabic tenets, his solos ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Souvenance

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If we are, in the final analysis, the sum total of our experiences, then it stands to reason that the work of musicians (and other artists) is a reflection of the events that touch their lives. Souvenance means “recollection," and if there is not, as oudist Anouar Brahem claims, “a direct link between my compositions and the events taking place in Tunisia," then there's little doubt that the album's cover image--taken by Nacer Talef in the Tunisian capital of Tunis ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Montreal Jazz Festival 2011

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Days 1-3 | Days 4- 6 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal Montreal, Canada June 25- July 4, 2011After a hiatus in 2010, in order to take a three-week Norwegian road trip, it's great to get back to the festival that the Guinness Book of Records calls “The biggest jazz festival in the world." But for those who think such a designation has to mean a populist-driven festival, geared towards accessibility and big ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita

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The Astounding Eyes of Rita rings to life on four resonant notes from Tunisian oudist Anouar Brahem, joined in short order by the deep, rich tone of Klaus Gesing's bass clarinet. The music sounds ancient, like something from an old civilization, full of past truths that still hold true. Manfred Eicher, the man in charge at ECM Records, has been known to inspire, from talented artists, consistently beautiful and sometimes eccentric (American ethno-centricity speaking) music from unusual instrumental ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anouar Brahem: The Astounding Eyes of Rita

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In the world of the oud--the fretless, Middle Eastern incarnation of the lute--there are three artists who are moving the instrument--and its centuries-old tradition--forward. Tunisian-born Dhafer Youssef has explored the integration of technology and western classicism on Divine Shadows (Jazzland, 2006), while Lebanese-born Rabih Abou-Khalil has investigated a nexus with horn-driven large ensemble on The Cactus of Knowledge (Enja, 2001). Anouar Brahem, since first emerging on ECM with Barzakh (1991), has explored more nuanced territory, between his longstanding Astrakan Café ...

INTERVIEW

Anouar Brahem: Innovative Weaver of Musical Heritages

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Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem's eighth solo release, Voyage de Sahar (ECM, 2006), is another testimony to the magnificent way that he manages to weave influences and references from the rich and beautiful heritage of Arabic world with elements of Andalusian music and modern jazz, and to the innovative way in which Brahem suggests the oud as a leading instrument in Western and Arabic music. For the first time in his 15-year relationship with the prestigious German ECM label, Brahem ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar

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Tunisian oudist Anouar Brahem has recorded for ECM since 1990; Le Pas du Chat Noir (2002) achieved the most critical acclaim. The trio which made that record comes together again for Le Voyage de Sahar, creating an understated tour de force that builds on the former album. While the “ECM sound" very much helps create the feeling, the image of a spotlight on the trio, otherwise surrounded by darkness, playing to a massive, totally silent, mesmerized audience, keeps appearing. The ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Anouar Brahem: Le Voyage de Sahar

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Many of ECM's standout albums are a result of rich confluences of jazz, classical and world music sensibilities. The authors of those albums have a thorough, deep knowledge and understanding of each tradition, and most of the time the intersections between the different traditions are blessed with good results.

Such is the case with Anouar Brahem. His music clearly dwells in different worlds, deeply rooted in Arabic music yet very open to influences from jazz and classical traditions, among others. ...


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