Recorded in just two days in the middle of a New York winter, Joseph Tawadros’ 11th album sees him take his craft yet another step further as he’s joined by some of the world’s best talent (Christine McBride on double bass, Matt McMahon on piano, Mike Stern on guitar and his brother James Tawadros on the Middle Eastern percussion instruments, the req and bendir).
His own instrument of choice (though choice may have had little to do with it as he sounds like he was born with one in his hands) is the oud, and he is quite simply one of the best players around.
This 12 string fretless instrument is generally only used when creating Arabic music but, this time around, Tawadros has incorporated a fascinating and quite unique blend of genres from bluegrass through folk and world music to pure jazz.
The challenging nature of some of the music and the sheer quality of the performances is absolutely breathtaking.
What makes this tasty brew so magical, though, the essential secret spice so to speak, is the chemistry between the players. Five top musicians displaying their wares all too often can be stimulating for the head but leaves the heart cold, but not here.
There’s a tangible enthusiasm and empathy in these performances that is quite extraordinary with the interplay and dialogue between the players a thing to marvel at and a sheer delight to listen to.
The pieces themselves are evocative and range from the playful to the atmospheric and moving while the performances sizzle. You can’t really ask for much more than that.
Musician, actor, singer, music reviewer, Phil’s interests cover a lot of bases and this is reflected in the music he writes about. From blues to soul, ambient to electronic, Phil writes about artists he feels are interesting, true to their craft and worthy of your ears.