Saturday, August 25, 2012

CD Review: Michel Sajrawy's 'Arabop'

Michel Sajrawy
Dasam Studio

Nazareth-based, Palestinian-guitarist, Michel Sajrawy, offers a glimpse into a new world of Arab maqam and Western improvisation on his latest album, Arabop. The jazzy, experimental sounds are rich with Middle Eastern and North Africa melodies, but familiar to all. The instrumental repertoire is well-balanced with Michel on guitar and keyboards, Amiram Granot on sax, Maali Klar on soprano sax, Samir Makhoul on oud and vocals, Valeri Lipets on contra bass, Wisam Sajrawy on darbuka and shakers, Stas Zilberman on drums, Nehaya Damouni on chants, and Adnan Haddad on speech. The wildly-played guitar stylings are equivalent to Hossam Ramzy on the drums. At any rate, the songs are up-tempo, but reflective in a similar manner. The energized darbuka and electric guitars thunder with delight on "Tojann." "1 Count Before 40" is a more meditative, lounge jazz tune that is wholly instrumental. "Arabop" reflects a more jazzy side to the music with a jaunty sax line and playful melody overall. The highly-energize "Batumi" is a guitar lovers dream with an equal amount of percussive embellishments throughout. There is a slight klezmer undertone. Overall, Michel succeeds wildly with a stunning set of mostly instrumental music that is both jazzy, Arabic, and improvisational. This is maqam music for future generations. ~ Matthew Forss

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