» » » Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem (2013) High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz

Artist: Dhafer Youssef
Title: Birds Requiem
Genre: Jazz, African Folk, African Jazz, Folk Jazz, World Fusion
Label: © Okeh Records | Sony Music Entertainment
Release Date: 2013
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 96kHz/24bit
Source: Qobuz
Duration: 01:04:17
Recorded and mixed by Lars Nilsson at Nilento Studio, Gothenburg, Sweden

Tunisian oud master, vocalist, and composer Dhafer Youssef is globally renowned for his restless musicality. He has used his ancient instrument -- five millennia and counting -- to explore jazz, classical, and blues, in addition to the classical and folk musics of the Middle East, North Africa, and Mediterranean regions. The ephemeral Birds Requiem is his debut offering for Sony's resurrected Okeh imprint. The players on this date include his trio with pianist Kristjan Randalu and trumpeter Nils-Petter Molvaer, and the complete ensemble (which recorded primarily in Sweden) features clarinetist Hüsnu Senlendirici, bassist Phil Donkin, drummer Chander Sardjoe, and electric guitarist Eivind Aarset, which also provides various electronic treatments. Aytac Dogan plays the zither-like kanun. The four-part "Birds Requiem Suite" is, as expected, the heart of the recording: it introduces it, plays two distinct parts in its middle section, and closes it. There are elemental theme-like qualities in each section, none of them predictable nor pat; neither do they act as mere showcases for Dhafer's virtuosity, but instead are carefully conceived ensemble pieces with the oud at their collective heart, with distinct harmonics, timbres, and interplay. There are seven other compositions as well. "Blending Souls & Shades (To Shiraz)" is the set's longest track. It commences as a sparse folk lament and becomes a labyrinthine jazz improv workout, with a stellar guitar break by Aarset and gorgeous falsetto by Dhafer. "Ascetic Mood" is a slow, brooding trio work for oud, clarinet, and piano. According to Dhafer, "Khira 'Indicium Divinum' Elegy for My Mother" was a spontaneous improvisation between his voice, Molvaer's trumpet, and Randalu's piano. It is easily the most moving and beautiful thing here. Other oud greats, from Rabih Abou-Khalil and Anouar Brahem to Titi Robin and Hamdi Makhlouf, have furthered the instrument's reach and juxtaposed it with jazz, improvised, and other world musics, but Youssef's Birds Requiem -- for its range, formal historical considerations, emotional expression, subtle yet distinctive colors and textures, as well as its truly stellar musicianship -- has used it to create a musical language that, while readily acknowledging the traditions that have informed it, is truly of his own creation. --AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek

Tunisian oud maestro Dhafer Youssef imparts a holistic world music vista, encompassing jazz, rock and spiritual inclinations while retaining the core Arabic modalities on the aurally picturesque Birds Requiem. And his chant-like, resonating vocals entwine mystical attributes with near-flawless control amid passages that induce an impression of sacred exchanges with a higher entity.
Blending Souls & Shades touches your heart, emanating from Youssef's sprawling vocals, executed with conviction and soulfulness, followed by trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer's spiraling lyricism, leading the band into a mid-tempo rock groove. Here, Youssef's deft oud work conjoins with guitarist Eivind Aarset's succinct chord voicings as they stagger the pulse atop drummer Chander Sardjoe's thick back beats. But the guitarist turns up the heat, casting an edgy outlook as the ensemble soars to a zenith towards the end, and dovetails a buoyant Arabic melody into the finale. Hence, this piece and others transcend the customary persuasions of world music, mainly due to the seamless coalition of multiple Eastern and Western inferences. On the ensemble-based pieces no particular genre outweighs the other, bearing a multifarious production that uncovers a consortium of unforeseen surprises. --Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

1 Birds Canticum "Birds Requiem" Suite 03:16
2 Sweet Blasphemy 06:03
3 Blending Souls & Shades (to Shiraz) 09:29
4 Ascetic Mood 05:40
5 Fuga Hirundinum "Birds Requiem" Suite 04:19
6 Khira "Indicium Divinum" Elegy for My Mother 03:55
7 39th Gülay (to Istanbul) 06:49
8 Archaic Feathers "Birds Requiem" Suite 03:00
9 Sevdah (to Jon Hassell) 08:00
10 Ascetic Journey 09:01
11 Whirling Birds Ceremony "Birds Requiem" Suite 04:45

Dhafer Youssef: oud, vocals
Husnu Senlendirici: clarinet
Nils Petter Molvær: trumpet
Aytac Dogan: hanun
Eivind Aarset: electric guitar, electronics and second ear
Kristjan Randalu: piano
Phil Donkin: double bass
Chander Sardjoe: drums

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