****RINGER OF THE WEEK****Ibrahim Maalouf: Kalthoum

Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf put out an impressive album back in 2013 titled Wind, but nothing could portend the power of this latest release. He delivers a tribute to famed Egyptian singer Oum Kalthoum by taking an hour-long song of his and breaking it into seven various interpretations, ranging from three to fifteen minutes. No lack of ambition here.

What makes the challenge all the more alluring is that there is no inclusion of Middle Eastern sounds like the oud, strings or percussion. The team is all jazzers like Mark Turner/ts, Frank Woeste/p, Larry Grenadier/b and Clarence Penn/dr, so the Saharan harmonies are produced by the horns melding together  or, as on “Introduction” and the two “Overtures” by the crisp and yet yearning brass of the leader. When the band stretches out as on “Movement III” and “Movement IV,” the intoxicating pulse makes you feel like you’re somewhere between Times Square and Tahrir Square. Turner is inspired as he broods on “Movement III” and Maalouf cries like a full moon overlooking the Nile River. The repetitive theme varies enough to keep your interest and serves as a base for launching into landscapes unknown. This album takes the sounds of the exotic Mid East to a new  level of inspiration. Bravo!

Impulse! Records









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