Recommended: Melange – “Via Maris”


Melange - "Via Maris"Via Maris conjures up a compelling fusion of modern jazz and Mediterranean and Middle East musics.  Built around a quartet of cello, oud, guitar and percussion, and with guests on accordion, saxophones and trumpet, the unconventional configurations of Melange and their strange brew of influences is proven to be no obstacle to some seriously tuneful pieces.

Tracks like “Bia Oula Bik” and “”Marrocai” run into the street and starts the celebration, while “Anosis” keeps the enthusiasm at a contemplative simmer.  The dance of “Foq El-Nakhal” is unpredictable motion and magnetic elegance, and when it sleeps, the song dreams of the ethereal “Halfouine.”  All of these, for all their mixes of influences and expressionism, are designed to inspire motion.  Even the skittering “Longa Sakiz” is a command to move move move.

We’ve seen a couple examples lately of the melodic approach of maqam applied to a jazz setting, and this is just one more instance of its potential for success.  Fun, joyful music.

Your album personnel:  Shirley Smart (cello), Stefanos Tsourelis (oud), Demi Garcia Sabat (drums, percussion), Peter Michaels (guitar) and guests:  Maurizio Minardi (accordion), Joe Browne (saxophones), Jake Painter (trumpet) and Michele Montolli (bass).

Released on Two Rivers Records.

Listen to more album tracks on the label’s Bandcamp page.

Jazz from the London scene.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon | eMusic