Music Reviews

Anouar Brahem: Blue Maqams Review

Like a lot of jazz fans, I first heard oud player Anouar Brahem when he teamed with soprano saxophonist, bass clarinetist John Surman and double bassist Dave Holland for their 1997 album Thimar, a hauntingly beautiful and moody collection that seamlessly melded middle-eastern music with jazz. It’s territory Brahem would mine again with 1999’s Astrakan Cafe and 2008’s The Astounding Eyes Of Rita, just as he had prior to Thimar on his 1991 debut Barzakh and on Jan Garabek’s 1994 album Madar. Now he returns to it once more, and with a familiar face in tow, for Blue Maqams (CD, digital, vinyl), yet another album on which he and his compatriots create moody beauty from the marriage of jazz and the middle-east.