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Jazz - Released November 28, 2014 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 4F de Télérama - Choc de Classica - The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
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Jazz - Released October 13, 2017 | ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 Sterne Fono Forum Jazz
The Tunisian Anouar Brahem is one of the most subtle contemporary oud players. Evolving in the ECM sphere, his discographic adventures therefore unfold on international grounds where music coming from ancestral traditions crosses paths with the contemporary and jazz worlds. The virtuoso, who celebrates his sixtieth birthday with this album, wanted to indulge himself by renewing a dialogue opened two decades ago with the bass player Dave Holland. And the cherry on top: this jazz master came with a former colleague of his Miles Davis period, the drummer Jack DeJohnette. Brahem also wanted to confront his Arabic lute against a high-level pianist and Manfred Eicher, Mister ECM, introduced him to the talented British musician Django Bates. The four men obviously get along well, and it shows in every corner of these nine tracks. Jazz is at the center, but far from being conventional, bound to be blended by mixing the Eastern scholarly grammar and the famous maqams. But most of the time it’s music both pure and without a label much like the virtuosos without borders who play it. © BM/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 25, 2009 | Deutsche Grammophon ECM

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 3F de Télérama
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Jazz - Released September 25, 2009 | ECM

Distinctions 3F de Télérama
3 stars out of 5 -- "The music takes its time and unfolds on its own schedule, even embracing silence and stillness."
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Jazz - Released May 18, 1998 | ECM

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Jazz - Released September 9, 2002 | ECM

Oud player Brahem has established his own little niche with the instrument; his music, strongly Arab-inflected, has the spare, chamber feel that makes it a perfect fit in the ECM catalog. He's a contemplative player, and this melding with piano and accordion suits his style perfectly, as notes and ideas draw out marvelously. The interplay between musicians is as delicate as lace -- thoughtful, with everyone listening as much as playing. It's a record with many moments of great beauty, like the exquisite piano on "C'est Ailleurs" or the filigree touches between accordion and piano that decorate and nudge along many of the tracks. Brahem is a superb, if reserved, musician, as are his colleagues: Francois Couturier on piano and Jean-Louis Matinier on accordion. Together they trace something exquisite, an experience for the eras and the heart. ~ Chris Nickson
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Jazz - Released May 1, 1992 | ECM

Conte de L'incroyable Amour is Tunisian composer and oud virtuoso Anouar Brahem's follow-up to his excellent ECM debut, Barzakh. Like its predecessor, this release contains original material that mixes Arabic music and jazz improvisation and features a stellar band comprised of some of Turkey's finest musicians (this time out Brahem is joined by clarinetist Barbaros Erkose, nay (reed flute) player Kudsi Ergune, and the percussionist from Barzakh, Lassad Hosni). In contrast to Barzakh's livelier mood, though, the sound here is more meditative and even stark at times, especially on solo flights by both Brahem ("Iram Retrouvee") and Erkose ("Etincelles") and by way of Erguner's ethereal improvisations ("Diversion"). The pace picks up on the sympathetically played and joyous ensemble piece "Conte de L'incroyable Amour" and on the impassioned Brahem and Erkose duet, "Nayzak." ECM's typically sparse and airy production compliments Brahem's ascetic material without making it sound too dry. A wonderful album that, upon repeated listening, reveals many transcendent moments. ~ Stephen Cook
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Jazz - Released January 1, 1995 | ECM

Khomsa is the heroine in the movie Bezness, and also inspires one of many musical themes from Tunisian films and theater documented on this CD. Oud player Anouar Brahem has performed these pieces across a decade with different ensembles, but for the first time they were recorded in one studio setting. The instrumentation varies in size and de-emphasizes Brahem's role as a frontman. In fact, upon listening, this could just as easily be credited under the direction of the brilliant accordionist Richard Galliano, for his role is heard more often as the lead instrument. The musicians combine here and there with the dynamic ECM signature rhythm team of bassist Palle Danielsson and drummer Jon Christensen, or in certain instances pianist François Couturier, violinist Bechir Selmi, and on rare occasion soprano saxophonist Jean Marc Larché. The themes are luxurious, rich, beautiful, and organic, with no wasted motion or excesses, and there is a feeling of being on a journey. Galliano's solo "Comme un Depart," the solo oud of Brahem in "L'Infini Jour," and Selmi's "Regard de Mouette" get the caravan slowly started. "Claquent les Voiles" sports Brahem's mysterious Middle Eastern lines and chords with the masterful bassist and drummer, while "Vague" is hymnal in Galliano's ability to stretch long tied notes with his bellows. Couturier is a delicate stylist, matching theological timbres on "Vague," and working in tandem with Brahem during "Seule" and on the light 6/8 rhythm of "Nouvelle Vague" with Galliano. He also plays a little synthesizer, specifically during the circular "Un Sentier d'Alliance" aside overdubbed echoed piano and soprano sax. Most of the collective play on "Ain Ghazel," a sensitive and sensual musical sketch, features contrasting soprano sax from Larché, atypically animated drumming by Christensen, and Brahem's pensive oud as the period on a sentence. "Souffle un Vent de Sable" shows a group design in breathing, balanced tones led by Galliano, and Brahem coming in after the fact with the bass and drums. The title track displays a unified whole in the ECM spirit with Brahem, Galliano, Couturier, and Danielsson. Closest to jazz is "Des Rayons et des Ombres," a fast trio number with Galliano and the rhythm section approaching bop. "Comme une Absence" concludes the project with two overdubbed violin tracks from Selmi. The buyer should be aware that the personnel listed on the booklet cover does not reflect the entire combo at any one time. Otherwise, this is a beautiful contemporary statement reflecting the cinematic forms Brahem loves, mixed with European classical and improvisational sensibilities, professionally rendered, and well within the tradition of world jazz and the clean ECM concept. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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Jazz - Released April 1, 1991 | ECM

This starkly beautiful collection of 13 tracks by Tunisian composer Anouar Brahem is his debut release for the ECM label. The album spotlights Brahem's solo oud pieces, which range from the meditative ("Sadir") to the propulsive ("Ronda"). This solo work is nicely augmented by stellar contributions from violinist Bechir Selmi and percussionist Lassad Hosni; Selmi is featured on the transcendent "Barzakh," while Hosni figures prominently on "Souga" and "Bou Naouara." The three musicians come together for the joyous dance number "Parfum de Gitane." Throughout Barzakh, Brahem and the others forge an appealing mix of Middle Eastern sonorities and jazz phrasing, an intimate sound perfectly suited to the clean and spacious ECM recording style. This is a great title for fans of both international music and jazz. ~ Stephen Cook
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Jazz - Released February 24, 2006 | ECM

Over the past 15 years, Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem has assembled a relatively small but profound body of work. A skilled improviser who refuses to be part of the historical authenticity argument, Brahem works from the same trio setting that performed on Le Pas du Chat Noir in 2002, with pianist François Couturier and accordionist Jean-Louis Matinier. The dialogue between these players is, despite the sparseness of the music and the considerable space employed, intense. The deep listening necessary in the improvised sections allows for a natural flow of ideas to emerge from silence. The compositions themselves are skeletal, with repeating, slowly evolving vamps and lyric lines. They offer, on the surface, a contemplative approach, and indeed can be heard that way. However, when dynamics, timbre, and chromatics are listened for, what takes place is rather astonishing. Each player walks to the middle of a composition, steps back and reenters after ideas by the others are introduced, producing a kind of organic improvisation seldom heard. This is not to say that the most structured works here, such as "Vague/E la Nave Va," aren't full of meditative delight as well. They are, and there are vast spaces into which the listener can enter and disappear for a while -- not so much to drift and dream as to be absorbed in their hypnotic and repetitive beauty. "Les Jardins de Ziryab" begins with Matinier's accordion, which is answered by the oud and Brahem's voice, accompanying them both. It unfolds from the center out. "Le Chambre, Var." begins, for this ensemble, at a trot. Couturier's chord voicing and Brahem's percussive approach create a winding musical narrative that Matinier's accordion underscores rhythmically. The keyboard and air pulse create a terrain where intricate melodic lines come out of modal and chromatic tensions. Ultimately, Brahem has given listeners another of his wondrous offerings, full of deceptively simple compositions that open into a secret world, one where beauty is so present that it is nearly unapproachable, and it is up to the listener to fill in the spaces offered them by this remarkable trio. ~ Thom Jurek
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Jazz - Released October 13, 2017 | ECM

The Tunisian Anouar Brahem is one of the most subtle contemporary oud players. Evolving in the ECM sphere, his discographic adventures therefore unfold on international grounds where music coming from ancestral traditions crosses paths with the contemporary and jazz worlds. The virtuoso, who celebrates his sixtieth birthday with this album, wanted to indulge himself by renewing a dialogue opened two decades ago with the bass player Dave Holland. And the cherry on top: this jazz master came with a former colleague of his Miles Davis period, the drummer Jack DeJohnette. Brahem also wanted to confront his Arabic lute against a high-level pianist and Manfred Eicher, Mister ECM, introduced him to the talented British musician Django Bates. The four men obviously get along well, and it shows in every corner of these nine tracks. Jazz is at the center, but far from being conventional, bound to be blended by mixing the Eastern scholarly grammar and the famous maqams. But most of the time it’s music both pure and without a label much like the virtuosos without borders who play it. © BM/Qobuz

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