NYC always has a plethora of music happening, but January is loaded with events. We’ve already touched upon globalFEST and the APAP conference, what about Winter Jazzfest? This January, Jazzfest will include 70+ groups performing all night across 6 venues in the Village on January 11th & 12th. Debo Band and Oran Etkin’s Mandingo Ambassador’s have both featured here, as has the incredible Lebanese trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf, who just released his latest record, Wind, on Mi’ster Productions which is distributed by Harmonia Mundi.
Ibrahim Maalouf released a terrific album last year entitled Diagnostic. Be sure to read our review. His latest record, Wind, came about after he was asked by the French national film library to compose music for a film of his choosing from the silent movies in the Albatros catalog. Maalouf chose René Clair’s 1927 film La Proie du vent (The Prey of the Wind). Excited to work on his first film score, Maalouf drew inspiration from Miles Davis’ music for Louis Malle’s Ascenseur pour l’échafaud, which left a lasting impression on him.
“I wanted to reproduce that mysteriously melancholic atmosphere, dripping with suspense, contributing a discreet yet powerful Arabic hue, blended into the typical jazz quintet played for many years by Miles.” – Ibrahim Maalouf
Maalouf taps into the same elements and emotions he experiences as a composer for his songs on Wind. Doubts, suspicions, waiting, questions & answers, waiting again, excitement, certainty, sensuality, issues, surprises, doubts again, and finally mystery, are all feelings he experiences, in that order, when he sits down to compose music. To describe these emotions musically is no easy task, but Maalouf and his band thrive under these guidelines. If you didn’t know the song titles, you could probably sense them just by listening to the music. Joining Maalouf on Wind are some of jazz’s most respected names, including Frank Woeste (piano), Mark Turner (sax), Larry Grenadier (bass) and Clarence Penn (drums).
Ibrahim Maalouf’s quarter-tone trumpet, developed by his trumpeter father Nassim, gives his playing a distinct texture outside of the jazz norm. With an extra valve he is able to play pitches halfway between the usual notes of a chromatic scale. His implementation of Arabic scales is something you don’t hear enough in a traditional jazz quintet setting. This is what’s so exciting about this release. Jazz is all about expanding horizons and bringing new ideas to the table. Maalouf and his band deliver a sound that is both original and steeped in tradition.
Ibrahim Maalouf will present this new batch of music at Le Poisson Rouge on January 11th as part of Jazzfest. He is also scheduled to perform at Lycée Français de New York on January 14th. To get you psyched for these NYC performances, check out this incredible garage session that was recorded for Télérama.fr below. Just trumpet and electric guitar. Beautiful music.