Jun 26 2016
Recommended: 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.
June 27, 2016 @ 9:54 pm
I’ve always like Middle Eastern tinged jazz. The partnership with Peter Epstein and Brad Shepik produced some great albums, all the Masada projects have that taste, and of course, there’s Rhabi Abou-Khalil’s earlier projects with Jazz musicians such a Kenny Wheeler and Charlie Mariano, and Omer Avital may do it the best of all. This is definitely a nice entry in the category. Very good stuff with an excellent mix of instruments. Thanks for the heads-up. Cheers, Robert
July 5, 2016 @ 8:03 am
It’s really encouraging to see all these new releases that incorporate those influences. I like that it’s becoming more commonplace, because, one, it’s a great mix of sounds, and two, it frees up the artists to become more creative and take more chances.
If I remember correctly, that Shepik/Epstein/Kilmer “Lingua Franca” was a recommendation from the early days of the AAJ “New Releases Only” thread. I certainly associate it with my personal transition from old-school to new-school jazz. That album still grabs me when it comes up on shuffle.
July 6, 2016 @ 3:17 am
Hey Dave, that thread is still going, albeit with fewer posts these days. I just put up some of my favorite recent releases. http://forums.allaboutjazz.com/showthread.php?38874-New-Releases-Only
Still don’t know how you find so much new stuff! Cheers, Robert