Want some protest music to focus your rage? The Christopher Ali Solidarity Quartet has got what you need


Everything about this album screams protest music.  To Those Who Walked Before Us has got an attitude of stand up for what’s right, stand up and fight.  There’s plenty of different directions a musician can take when giving form to that expression.  Certainly an approach of hard-charging, fist-pounding tempos can be the catalyst for an invocation of principles.  There’s also an open to go subtle and work with a melancholy, almost mournful tone, where the thoughts of what’s lost are the gentle whispers that cause the people to rise up.  The Christopher Ali Solidarity Quartet runs with a method of motion, of pairing a dancing groove with anthemic melodies.  It’s where a bit of catchiness offers up the handholds to spur a protest into action, and to carry it forward like a chant, a meditative state of furious activity.

The quartet of saxophonist Christopher Ali Thorén, oudist Filip Bagewitz, double bassist Alfred Lorinius and drummer Anton Davidsson Norén bring together avant-garde, Swedish and Arabic folk musics and modern jazz for a spellbinding force of language.  There’s a unity to it all, even when one influence takes hold over all others and makes its presence felt.

There are moments of ferocity when the concept of structure barely registers.  And then there are moments of effortless groove, and the flow of the music is like a lighted path of the way ahead.  The best moments incorporate both of those extremes, and the fight and the flow become as one… a place where the act of aggression acquires a certain poetry through motion.  This is best embodied by the staggered shuffle of “Al-Maghrib” and how it possesses a motion resembling that of dance, inciting it from others, but still with that fighting spirit that makes it so much more than a means to an end.

This is a pretty thrilling album.

Your album personnel:  Christopher Ali Thorén (tenor & soprano saxophones), Filip Bagewitz (oud, fretless electric guitar), Alfred Lorinius (double bass) and Anton Davidsson Norén (drums).

This album is Self-Produced.

Listen to more of the album on the artist’s Bandcamp page.

Music from Gothenburg, Sweden.

Available at:  Bandcamp | Amazon