Guitarist Michel Sajrawy launches the set with an Arabic-jazz piece "Bride Of The Galilee," which to me, sounds like a variant on Paul Desmond’s classic composition, "Take Five." On that note, the Palestine born artist radiantly fuses the jazz vernacular with Middle Eastern overtones, all abetted by a solid compositional pen and impressive chops.
Sahrawy is a fluent improviser, and receives excellent support from his multinational band. They effortlessly engage bop, swing and soul-jazz blues, topped off by pianist Franck Dhersin’s swift phrasings and the rhythm section’s punchy accents. And the guitarist incorporates odd-tunings into several movements and, of course, lets it rip during many of his solo jaunts.
It’s a democratic engagement, where the participants are offered room to stretch and then navigate through knotty unison choruses. Yet it’s the guitarist’s acute blend of Middle Eastern modalities that translates into a striking balance of contrasts and resplendent melodic inventions. Nonetheless, Sahrawy cloaks the jazz component into the program, while also kicking out the jams via buoyant jazz-rock grooves amid capacious movements. He enables the listening audience to absorb the grand schema.
Sahrawy casts a distinct voice into many of the roads frequently traversed. He doesn’t reinvent the wheel per se, but injects a flavorful element into the core guitar-piano jazz quartet format. An excellent soloist, Sajrawy’s insightful compositions help generate the blueprint for success.