lundi 20 juillet 2009

Bachir Attar + Elliott Sharp : "In New York"


Moroccan musician Bachir Attar is the leader of the phenomenal Master Musicians of Jajouka, a performing ensemble whose history extends back centuries. Every so often, their music has been "discovered" by luminaries as diverse as the writer/composer Paul Bowles, Rolling Stone guitarist Brian Jones and jazz revolutionary Ornette Coleman. Here, Attar by himself was lured to New York City for a one-shot collaboration with omnipresent Downtown composer/guitarist/math whiz Elliott Sharp. The sessions has a bit of an introductory feel with the musicians concentrating on slower, more languid pieces, allowing each player to stretch out at their leisure. In general, Sharp appears to defer to Attar's traditions both in the style of the compositions and in reining in his own flamboyant impulses. Instead, he provides a blues-inflected support to Attar's vocals and embroideries on rhaita and guimbri, the former a double-reed horn similar to the shenai, the latter a kind of North African flute. In fact, some of Sharp's playing prefigures his later work with his blues ensemble, Terraplane. On the negative side, some of the drum machine sounds produced by Sharp sound stiff and out of place.
While none of the music here rises to the heights of either the ecstatic music of the Master Musicians or the hyperdense controlled chaos of numerous Sharp projects, this is still a fairly successful meeting of disparate traditions with both musicians clearly approaching each other with open ears.

Brian Olewnick (All Music)


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