Oud Virtuoso Rabih Abou-Khalil - Discography

Posted By MiOd On Thursday, August 02, 2007 Under , , , ,
The musical traditions of the Arabic world are fused with jazz improvisation and European classical techniques by Lebanese-born oud player and composer Rabih Abou-Khalil. The CMJ New Music Report noted that Abou-Khalil has "consistently sought to create common ground between the Arab music mileau of his roots and the more global musical world of today." Down Beat praised Abou-Khalil's music as "a unique hybrid that successfully spans the world of traditional Arabic music and jazz." Although he learned to play the oud, a fretless, Lebanese lute, as a youngster, Abou-Khalil temporarily switched to the classical flute, which he studied at the Academy of Music after moving to Munich, Germany, during the Lebanese Civil War in 1978. In an attempt to explore new ways to play Arabic music, he returned to the oud and began to incorporate techniques more often played on jazz guitar. In the early-'90s, Abou-Khalil was commissioned by Southwest German radio to write two pieces that were debuted in a performance with the Kronos String Quartet at the Stuttgart Jazz Summit in 1992, and recorded with the Belanescu Quartet four years later. Abou-Khalil has worked with a mixture of Arabic, Indian, and American jazz musicians, including alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune, frame drummer and percussionist Glen Valez, conga player Milton Cardona, harmonica ace Howard Levy, and bassists Glen Moore and Steve Swallow.

[01].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Sultan's picnic

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Composer and oudist Rabih Abou-Khalil generates variety and interest by bringing aboard different guest musicians for each album. The personnel on Sultan's Picnic is so similar to that of Blue Camel that one might expect them to sound similar. But there's a key difference in the presence of Howard Levy on Sultan's Picnic. Levy is a talented harmonica player who has done a lot of offbeat work, including a stint with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones. Despite the power of Charlie Mariano on alto sax and Kenny Wheeler on trumpet, this album is dominated by the idioms of the harmonica, specifically the jazzy, quirky, lackadaisical idiom popularized by Levy's work with the Flecktones. This domination is noticeable from the beginning, on "Sunrise in Montreal." Occasionally, the harmonica recedes to the background and allows other instruments to shine through. On "Solitude," Levy provides only the occasional raspy sound effect, while Abou-Khalil steps forward with an instrument he had custom-built: the bass oud. Other novel instruments put in an appearance here as well. Michel Godard huffs and toots away on the tuba and its archaic predecessor, the serpent. (This is in addition to Steve Swallow on bass.) Whether because of the multitude of instruments -- all the aforementioned, plus three percussionists and an uncredited electric guitar -- or just too much influence from Levy, the album lacks focus, except when it sounds like the Flecktones. There are exceptions, like "The Happy Sheik" and "Snake Soup," where Abou-Khalil sounds like his dramatic self again. But on these tracks, Levy is used mostly as punctuation. ~ Kurt Keefner, All Music Guide
[01]. Sunrise in Montreal
[02]. Sollitude
[03]. Dog River
[04]. Moments
[05]. Lamentation
[06]. Nocturne Au Villaret
[07]. The Happy Sheik
[08]. Snake Soup

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[02].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Odd Times

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Odd Times is Rabih Abou-Khalil's first live album. Since it would be impractical to assemble all of the guests he has had on his albums over the years, Abou-Khalil has gone in the other direction and pared his ensemble down to what is for him the bare bones: himself on oud, Howard Levy on harmonica, Michel Godard on tuba and serpent (an antique form of the tuba), Mark Nauseef on drums, and Nabil Khaiat on frame drums. Most live albums contain well-known pieces from the artist's studio repertoire; in contrast, Odd Times is mostly new material. In general, the album is a mix of shapeless, overlong attempts at atmosphere ("Elephant Hips") and fairly bouncy and fun items ("Q-Tips"). The pared-down lineup is engaging because Abou-Khalil's oud and Godard's tuba are more prominent; unfortunately, Levy's harmonica is also pronounced, and simply clashes with the entire project of fusing Arabic music and jazz. Though in all fairness, on "The Happy Sheik" Levy sets aside his usual cadences in favor of something more bluesy that melds better with its surroundings. The album closes with a vibrant performance of "Rabou-Abou-Kabou," one of Abou-Khalil's best songs. ~ Kurt Keefner
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[01]. The Sphinx and I
[02]. Dr. Gieler's Prescription
[03]. Elephant Hips
[04]. Q-Tips
[05]. Son of Ben Hur
[06]. The Happy Sheik
[07]. One of Those Days
[08]. Rabou-Abou-Kabou

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[03].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Arabian Waltz

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Ah, strings! The greatest jazz musicians have aspired to recording with them - often with less than spectular results. It's as if even masters like Charlie Parker were bedevilled by some lingering insecurity about their music. Only playing along-side violin, cello and viola, with the instruments of the great European musical tradition, it seems, can afford the final confirmation and seal of classic status.

Any such misgivings vanish soon after beginning to listen to Rabih Abou-Khalil's latest venture. For a start he has chosen to record with the Balanescu Quarter who are immediately identifiable by the distance they are willing to put between themselves and their classical training (Pace their versions of Kraftwerk songs). For leader Alex Balanescu, in any case, the classical element was only part of a larger musical formation that included the gypsy folk tradition of his native Romania. More to the point, the Balanescu Quarter are not backing Abu-Khalil - are not, so to speak, playing second fiddle to him - but recording in collaboration with him.

Not withstanding this there was still a lot of ground to cover if the Balanescu Quarter and Abu-Khalil's trio were to come together as a single unit, a cohe-sive band in its own right. The night before they began recording this album they played a gig in Karlsruhe, Germany. It was full of Promise and daring but, at the same time, hesitant, tentative. You could hear the two outfits, tiptoeing around each other in kerouac's famous phrase, like heart-breaking new friends.

What Abou-Khalil did in the course of further rehearsals and recordings was a bind the strings more tightly round his own unique musical amal-gam of occidental and oriental influences. linking them is the element most conspicuously lacking in the history of European of the string quarter: rhythm.

Which brings us to Abou-Khalil's long-time collaborator, Nabil Khaiat. the first rock groups I ever saw, in the seventies, feautured massive drum kits: if you could actually see the drumer then - or so these vast terraces of percussion seemed to imply - he couldn't be much of a drumer. Something of the spirit lives on in world music today with percussionists' fonness for flaunting their virtuosity by playing - at the same time - as many different drums and bells as there are African languages, The great percussionists, though, can coax the most intricate of rhythms from the simplest of instruments, like the frame drums played by Nabil. His fingers gallop like hooves. From a standing start - silence - he creates a rhythm that engulfs and guides.

Not that rhythm is the preserve of the percussionist alone: Abou-khalil had written different rhythmic lines for each of the strings. In effect the members of the Balanescu Quarter were playing solos, in dividual fragments that make up a surging collective rhythm. Abou-Khalil wrote these parts without knowing if the quarter could play them. Michel Godard, apparently, though not. For his part, Abu-Khalil though that even a virtuoso like Godard would struggle to play the parts he had written for the tuba. As you can hear, they were both wrong. There are echoes of Thelonious Monk's approach here: writing the music as it would ideally be heard with no concessions as to whether musicians would be able to realise that ideal. As far as monk was concerned the music was there, in the instruments, and it was up to the musicians to get it out.

I want to change approaches here, to take Monk at his word, as it were, and to do this I need you not only to listen to the musicians but to watch - to see them, as it were, through my eyes. Look how much time Nabil, Godard and Abou-Khalil have. Whatever the tempo, however complex the time signature they are playing, they are never hurried.
Compared with what they are capable of their fingers are surrounded by deserts of time. Notice, too, their stillness. I remember rock drummers throwing themselves round their kits but Nabil. in particular, is all but motionless. This is a residue of the etiquette of performance in Syria where the drummer must do nothing to distract attention from the singer. Still, one wonders if holding the body still like this is a way of ensuring that none of the rhythm is dissipated. Unable to escape, to leak via the head or feet, it's only egress is the hands and fingers through which it pours. Such is the musicians' stillness, in fact, that they seem less to be producing music than to be listening, waiting. To what? For what? Perhaps the answer becomes clear when I say that their attitude reminds me, above all, of people fishing.

Musicians arrive in a recording studio. They assemble their instruments, engineers arrange recording equipment and then, together, they record various takes until they have enough music for an album. This is literally what happens. Watching these musicians, however, a different process - or a different way of evoking the process - suggests itself.

As the moment to record a piece of music draws near everyone in the studio becomes quiet. The air itself seems to become more silent, as if something were about like shape within it, as if the music were about to appear. Imagine, then, that instead of music being made by musicians they have, instead, to catch it. More precisely still, imagine that the music on this record was in the world, was - to borrow Eric Dolphy's enigmatic invocation - in the air. It offered itself to the musicians in the form of a rendezvous in Baden which would be kept only if certain very elaborate and highly contingent conditions were met. These conditions were historical, geographical and individual. Historically, the period of jazz advancing as jazz had to have come close to exhausting itself. Geographically, there had to be some kind of melting point - somewhere akin in spirit to "neutral" Switzerland in the second World War - where the musicians could meet not as equals but on equal terms. Individually, the musicians had to have advanced to a very high degree in their technical develoment; ideally, like Michel Godard, they would would be at home anywhere, in any setting. If all these conditions were met then, in the studio, the chances were that if the participants were attentive and patient, this elusive music could be not so much made as called into being or - to revert to that fishing metaphor - reeled in.

I have left out the single most important condition for the distillation of the music preserved on Arabian Waltz. this is that Abou-khalil himself had to have arrived at the point where his own musical achievement - as composer, arranger and instrumentalist - was substantial enough to constitue its own tradition. That is to say, the point where the greatest influence on his music is his own work. Having created a considerable body of music that is unlike anyone else's, Abou-khalil is now able to draw sustenance from a tradition which did not exist before he invented it. We can hear clearly on this album how two songs from his own back catalogue ('Dreams Of A Dying City' and "Ornette Never Sleeps') serve the same function as standards, as Ellington's 'Caravan' did on his own earlier Roots And Sprouts. for example: not to be re-recorded but re-invented, re-invoked.

But it is actually the title of one of the new pieces,'No Visa' that comes closest to summing up Abou-Khalil's ambition and achievement. Its appropriateness to his work becomes especially clear if a distinction between bordersand frontiers is kept in mind. A characteristic of the modern state is that it is defined by established borders which are precise and readily identifiable. A common characteristic of classical musicians is, likewise, a reluctance to venture beyond the borders of their elected form. Abou-Khalil, though, is drawn to frontiers which - in contrast to borders - are not settled or definitively fixed but shiffting, contestable. More exactly, he is preoccupied by a single forntier, the one that has attracted all great artists and pioneers: the frontier of the possible.
Geoff Dyer,1996
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[04].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Arabian Waltz

Arabian Waltz is the pinnacle of Rabih Abou-Khalil's achievement as a composer and arranger. It is a sublime fusion of jazz, Middle Eastern traditional music, and Western classical. In addition to Abou-Khalil on oud (the Arabic lute), Michel Godard on the tuba and the serpent (the tuba's antique kinsman), and Nabil Khaiat on frame drums, the album also features the Balanescu String Quartet instead of the usual trumpet or sax. The presence of the Balanescu might seem to pose a dilemma for the composer: traditional Middle Eastern music uses no harmony but a string quartet is all about harmony. Abou-Khalil achieves a compromise by generally writing the string parts in unison (or in octaves), in effect using the quartet as a single voice, but also letting the quartet split up to play parts in unison with the other instruments or to provide ornamentation. Without surrendering jazziness at all, the presence of the strings makes possible a wondrous atmosphere, almost as if one is listening to the soundtrack of a classy movie set in Beirut or Damascus during the '40s. This feeling is greatest on "Dreams of a Dying City" with its brooding tuba and cello motifs and grave, repeated rhythms. "The Pain After" starts with an impressive tuba solo that turns into a long interlude for tuba and string quartet; sad, slow music that sounds like one of Beethoven's late quartets. Then Abou-Khalil finally enters on oud, bringing a sustained note of wistfulness. Fortunately, beside the darker numbers lie the propulsive drama of "Arabian Waltz" and the bobbing and weaving quirkiness of "Ornette Never Sleeps." Abou-Khalil is known for experimenting with the possibilities his guest musicians bring to his style. In this case, the guests have inspired the host to reach a new height and maybe even a new style. This recording suits every fan of world music, jazz, classical, or just good music. ~ Kurt Keefner, All Music Guide
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[01]. Arabian waltz
[02]. Dreams of a dying city
[03]. Ornette never sleeps
[04]. Georgina
[05]. No visa
[06]. The pain after

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[05].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Between dusk & dawn

One of Abou-Khalil's earlier albums, Between Dusk and Dawn features stellar sidemen such as master percussionist Glen Velez and jazz saxophonist Charlie Mariano. In places it exhibits that ecstatic melding of jazz and Arabic music that was later perfected on Blue Camel. But in other places it gives us long patches of noodling and less-then-engaging playfulness. An example of the former would be the first track, "Dusk." At just over 14 minutes, more than half of this piece is devoted to a shapeless and tiresome prelude for percussion and oud (Arabic lute). An example of the latter is the aptly named "The Thing that Came out of the Swamp," which features everything but the kitchen sink, including Glen Velez's overtone singing, in a fantasy that sounds like Stravinsky crossed with Steve Reich. Yet there are solid, jazzy tracks like "Chess with Mal" which opens with a long but well-formed solo by Charlie Mariano before sax and oud synchronize for one of Abou-Khalil's gloriously rhythmic tunes. Or "Dawn," where Abou-Khalil plays one of his favorite tricks of making it sound as if the melody of the piece grows out of his initial improvisation. Despite the album's lack of overall focus, it does offer a bounty for the ear, especially in the percussion. A disc for fans of one or more of the musicians involved. ~ Kurt Keefner, All Music Guide
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[01]. Dusk
[02]. Bat dance
[03]. Nightfall
[04]. Ugo in love
[05]. Chess with Mal
[06]. Thing that came out of the swamp
[07]. Dawn
[08]. And finally...the oasis

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[06].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Yara

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Of the many exceptional world music projects by the Lebanese oud master Khalil, this is one of the more intriguing cuts used from the soundtrack of the Yilmaz Arslan-directed film Yara. Though the verbose liner notes by Harry Lachner extensively describe music in movies, it gives little clue as to how this music connects to the flick. But the music of Khalil does stand beautifully on its own, generally of a very patient construct, the oud player joined by violinist Dominique Pifarely, cellist Vincent Courtois, and Nabil Khaiat on the frame drum. Selections flow freely into each other, much unison playing between the string instruments is prevalent, and Khalil takes the bulk of the lead, but Pifarely and Courtois have many opportunities to contribute melodically. Not nervous or anxious, those elements are stripped from this music; instead, virtues of trust and belonging are most extant. The gorgeous melding of these instruments on a lower key level is similarly expressed for "Requiem," "A Gracious Man" (for Rabih's father), "Grateful Parting," "The Passage of Life," and "Lithe Dream." The caravan like "Imminent Journey" is in 6/8 time, more Indian raga based, as is the slow "Puppet Master" and slower oud-frame drum-based "Bint El Bahr." "On a Bus" (to Beirut??) in 5/4 crackles with Khalil's riveting, forward-moving improvising. "Through the Window" is joyous, and seemingly free of structure, with no easily discernible meter. Haunting themes with only violin and cello for "The End of Faith" and the equally full group finale "The Knowledge of a Child" end the movie, and this set, on a remarkably somber note. There's pure wonder and revelation in this music. You'll have to see the film to get the full gist, but without the moving pictures, Khalil's unique music is indeed a moving experience in and of its own accord. Recommended. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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[01]. Requiem
[02]. Imminent journey
[03]. A gracious man
[04]. On a bus
[05]. Grateful parting
[06]. The passage of live
[07]. Through the window
[08]. Lithe dream
[09]. Puppet master
[10]. Bint el bahr
[11]. The end of faith
[12]. The knowledge of a child

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[07].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Blue camel

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Blue Camel is the pinnacle to date of Lebanese oud-player Rabih Abou-Khalil's achievement as a jazzman. In both mood and scope, it can almost be characterized as a new Kind of Blue. Both tense and reflective, it is perfect for listening after midnight. Abou-Khalil brings back Charlie Mariano on alto sax and Kenny Wheeleron flugelhorn and trumpet, and they generally alternate solos with Abou-Khalil himself. Rounding out the roster is Steve Swallow on bass, Milton Cardona on congos, Nabil Khaiat on frame drums and Ramesh Shotham on South Indian drums and percussion. They form a tight ensemble but project that they are comfortable with each other. The album opens with "Sahara," which contains both one of Abou-Khalil's tunes, a mesmerizing melody that could be either Arabic or jazz, and one of Abou-Khalil's best solos, a well-defined interlude that delightfully features the unique timbre of the oud. "Tsarka" begins with a fast break on the oud that turns out to be one of the two motifs on which everything is built. After it is elaborated for a few bars, the oud comes back with another building block. Then we get some stunning improvisations, especially from Abou-Khalil. "Ziriab" opens with a trumpet solo in which Kenny Wheeler tests the compass of his instrument, backed up with some atmospheric sounds from the udu drum; then Abou-Khalil enters with another great tune for everyone to build on. The title track is nothing but fun. Seductive percussion ushers in Wheeler and Mariano playing in unison a tune that is somewhere between Duke Ellington and the court of Baghdad. As the percussion bubbles along, Milton Cardona's congos adding a Latin flavor to the proceedings, AbouKhalil steps up with a very fast and rhythmic, if not very tuneful, solo. Midway through the track, Mariano blisters the paint with a screeching sax workout that bridges the Arabic and the Latin, while remaining all the while pure jazz. Even Steve Swallow gets a chance to feature his bass after which the ensemble brings it together and takes it home. Some of the other tracks are not as good as the ones mentioned above, but they are all listenable and very atmospheric. The aptly named "A Night in the Mountains" is a slow, thoughful walk, perfect for silent contemplation. The album ends with "Beirut," named for the Lebanese city torn by civil war from which Abou-Khalil had to flee many years ago. The track begins with a quite oud solo and then builds to something more chaotic and strifeful. Blue Camel may not be a perfect album, but it demonstrates better than any other that a fusion between jazz and a musical form from another culture is possible and can work to the advantage of both. Plus, it's just great listening. ~ Kurt Keefner, All Music Guide
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[01]. Sahara
[02]. Tsarka
[03]. Ziriab
[04]. Blue Camel
[05]. On Time
[06]. A Night in the Mountains
[07]. Rabou-Abou-Kabou
[08]. Beirut

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[08].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Al-Jadida

Rabih Abou-Khalil, among the rare Arabic musicians who have recorded and played extensively with jazz musicians, successfully navigates the middle ground between traditional North African sounds and hard bop. Besides the leader's oud and flute, alto saxophonist Sonny Fortune provides the blues bite; bassist Glen Moore, the rhythmic connection, and percussionists Ramesh Shotham and Nabil Khaiat, provide the African seasoning.

[01]. Catania
[02]. Nashwa
[03]. An Evening with Jerry
[04]. When the Lights Go Out
[05]. Storyteller
[06]. Ornette Never Sleeps
[07]. Nadim
[08]. Wishing Well

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[09].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Bukra

In this time of paranoia, perhaps it may be helpful to engage in sampling once again the civilization of the Middle East which has given us among other things, algebra, Tutankhamen and the oud. This last is, as we know, the grandaddy of the lute which is the father of the guitar. The sound of the oud in the hands of such as Rabih Abou-Khalil is quite ravishing. On this CD its beauty is everywhere apparent but especially so on the track Reflections which features the oud solo. But this is only part of the musical story in this wonderful programme of music. Percussion and hence rhythm is at its heart. Mr Glen Moore, once of Oregon, on bass, Glen Velez on drums, and Ramesh Shotham on percussion provide a rich, hypnotic and vital tapestry of sounds against which Mr Abou-Khalil and Mr Fortune (brilliant on alto) investigate their respective melodic and harmonic possibilities. Mr Fortune's solo on the title track is achingly beautiful whilst his passionate, lonely opening to Kibbe is revelatory and could stand alone as a voice combining elements of jazz, the desert, and Indian music all at once - this is sound that should echo in our hearts as we ponder the notion of war in the Middle East against one of the "axis' of evil". Not a dull moment on this CD. If you like "world music", jazz or simply good music, this is for you. After many listenings over six years, I still revere it.

(01) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Fortune Seeker
(02) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Bukra
(03) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Kibbe
(04) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Remember...The Desert
(05) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Nayla
(06) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Time
(07) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Reflections

Rabih Abou-Khalil (oud);
Glen Velez (vocals, frame drums, percussion);
Sonny Fortune (alto saxophone);
Glen Moore (bass);
Ramesh Shotham (South Indian drums, percussion).
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[10].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Tarab
Tarab is an unusual album for the great Lebanese jazz composer and oud player in that it features no Western instruments or musicians, except for Glen Moore on the acoustic bass. The melody instruments are the nay (Arabic flute) played by the Syrian veteran Selim Kusur and, as always, Abou-Khalil on oud or Arabic lute (which more or less functions like the piano in a standard jazz quartet). Rounding out the group are Nabil Khaiat on frame drums and percussion and Rameesh Shotham on South Indian drums and other percussion. Everyone but Kusur has worked at least semi-regularly with Abou-Khalil. (Kusur did play on Abou-Khalil's Roots and Sprouts, an earlier instance of a album with no Western instruments.) The lack of Western instrumentalists gives Tarab a less jazzy, more Arabic feeling than Abou-Khalil's other albums. Abou-Khalil builds his albums around his guest instrumentalists, so Tarab features the nay prominently, but even more this is an album for the oud and for showing off the rhythm section. For example, on "In Search of the Well" there is actually a bass solo. And there are a few other pleasant surprises scattered through the album. On "Awakening" someone - just who is not credited - lets forth a string of bol singing, that rapid-fire, tongue-twisting Indian chant made famous in the West by Sheila Chandra. And out of the blue on "Arabian Waltz" appears a jaw harp, presumably played by Shotham, who plays it on Between Dusk and Dawn. accenting the fast-paced original version of what later became the more lush title track of the album Arabian Waltz. This last song is especially welcome for its strong melody, standing out on an album that certainly does not lack for atmosphere, but which would have benefited from greater tunefulness. Still, a very worthy effort, though not the best place to start one's Rabih Abou-Khalil collection, especially if one is coming from a jazz background. ~ Kurt Keefner

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[01]. Bushman in the Desert
[02]. After Dinner
[03]. Awakening
[04]. Haneen Wa Haneen
[05]. Lost Centuries
[06]. In Search of the Well
[07]. Orange Fields
[08]. A Tooth Lost
[09]. Arabian Waltz

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[11].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Songs For Sad Women

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Abou-Khalil's new album "Songs For Sad Women" radiates with charming, elegiac beauty. Consisting of four players -- on oud (Arab lute), on duduk (Armenian shawm), on serpent (a mysterious brass instrument from the Middle Ages) and drums --, the band's rather singular instrumental mixture makes for an extraordinary sound experience. This is Abou-Khalil's most emotional music to date, heart-gripping, relaxed and haunting. The album's guest star is Gevorg Dabaghyan, one of the most famous players of the duduk, Armenia's traditional oboe and national symbol. Born in 1965 in Yerevan, Dabaghyan graduated from State Conservatory in 1989 and was the first to present Armenian mediaeval spiritual music on the duduk. He became famous for his cross-cultural collaborations with such as Jan Garbarek, Gidon Kremer and Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Project. In Dabaghyan's hand, the duduk becomes an autumn breeze, fresh and bright. Like a rainbow in the sky, like an eternal voice coming from the mountains and rivers of Armenia, the sound of the duduk touches the listener's heart and soul.
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[01].Mourir Pour Ton Décolleté
[02].How Can We Dance If I Cannot Waltz
[03].Best If You Dressed Less
[04].The Sad Woman Of Qana
[05].Para O Teu Bumbum
[06].Le Train Bleu
[07].A Chocolate Love Affair

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[12].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Cactus Of Knowledge
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Rabih Abou-Khalil's ninth Enja release features one of his most expansive lineups to date -- 12 pieces in all, including oud, brass, woodwinds, cello, and percussion. It's quite a departure from 1999's austere Yara. Here the tempos are bright, the unison lines darting and difficult, the improv heated, the tonal combinations ever-changing. Heavy-hitting jazzers dominate the band roster, including Dave Ballou and Eddie Allen on trumpets, Tom Varner on French horn, Dave Bargeron on euphonium, Antonio Hart on alto sax, and Ellery Eskelin on tenor sax. Gabriele Mirabassi's clarinet gives the music an almost klezmer-like sound at times (a tantalizing instance of Jewish-Arab reconciliation). The gorgeous booklet includes a prose poem by Gamal Ghitany (printed in English, French, and Arabic), as well as a series of campy band portraits and a full transcription of track number five, "Oum Saïd." Looking over the score, one gets some sense of the rhythmic complexity Abou-Khalil is dealing with (try counting in 6+5+5+3/16, for instance). ~ David R. Adler
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[01]. The Lewinsky March
[02]. Business As Usual
[03]. Praises et Creme Fraiche
[04]. Got To Go Home
[05]. Oum Said
[06]. Malrese Chicken Farm
[07]. Me Muse M'amuse
[08]. Pont Neuf

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The Cactus of Knowledge DVD ~

Remarkable! This DVD followed upon the exit of CD of the same name. One finds there six of the pieces of The Cactus Of Knowledge of the Lebanese player of oud, as well as a version recorded in public of “The Levinsky March”. Obviously, all the musicians whom it brought together, Lebanese (Rabih Abou-Khalil), Europeans (Vincent Courtois, Michel Godard) or American (Antonio Hart, Ellery Eskelin) want to offer to the type-setter best themselves. Many interviews, except that of the Master, probably too modest, testify to the complicity which reigns within this formation on the road. --Herve Count
| DVD Rip | Length: 01:12:10 | 720 x 400 Pixels | 700 MB |

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[13].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Nafas

Recorded in Germany by Beirut native Rabih Abou-Khalil, this moody, atmospheric album is more like a soundscape than a collection of songs. Abou-Khalil's primary instrument is the oud, a lute-like instrument traditionally used in Arab music. This low, sweet-toned, obviously Far Eastern instrument is teamed up with nothing more than Arab drums in most of the songs. Sparse vocals, performed by Selim Kusur, do little to create any discernible melody. Instead, they add texture and effect -- or an intro in the case of "Incantation." Upbeat songs such as "Awakening" are carried along by the drums, while the melancholy sound of the oud dominates introspective tracks such as "Nafas." This album is a far cry from the complex, percussion-heavy, often slightly jangly albums that usually make it to the world music section in Western record stores. It is also unlike the techno-influenced worldbeat albums that found popularity amongst certain club circles. It is a wistful, lonely album. Its simple, spare instrumentation is its distinguishing feature; after listening to dozens of over-produced, musically complex albums, this one comes as a bit of a relief. Though certain world music experts consider Abou-Khalil to be an innovator within his subgenre, his music sounds neither new nor old. It's hard to fit within any time frame.

[01]. Awakening
[02]. Window
[03]. Gaval Dance
[04]. The Return I
[05]. The Return II
[06]. Incantation
[07]. Waiting
[08]. Amal Hayati
[09]. Nafas
[10]. Nandi

APE (EAC Rip) + CUE + LOG files: 200 MB | MP3 - 320 kbs: 115 MB | Covers

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[14].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Morton's Foot

The band on Morton's Foot is a truly international ensemble. Composer and master oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil has assembled a cast that includes accordionist Luciano Biondini and clarinetist Gabriele Mirabassi along with Michel Godard on tuba, Jarrod Cagwin on trap and frame drums, and exotic Italian vocalist Gavino Murgia. Abou-Khalil composed all the tracks here. He shares the front line with Biondini and Mirabassi as Godard adds a serious bottom-end punch to the rhythm section. Certainly there are precedents for a group like this: Richard Galliano's 1980s bands as well as Chris Speed and Brad Shepik's Pachora, for example. Abou-Khalil's compositions here, as on his other recordings, involve detailed, complex, and labyrinthine melodic structures, though rhythmic invention and harmonic counterpoint add balance and offer tight turns of phrase and dynamic shifts. The title track, "Lobotomie Mi Baba Lu," and "Hopping Jack" are standout tracks, yet it is the sum of everything here that makes this one of Abou-Khalil's very best outings. ~ Thom Jurek
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[01]. Ma muse m'abuse
[02]. Morton's foot
[03]. Il ritorno del languore
[04]. Lobotomic mi baba lu
[05]. L'histoire d'un parapluie
[06]. O papaia balerina
[07]. Dr. gieler's wiener schnitzel
[08]. Il sospiro
[09]. Hopping jack
[10]. Waltz for dubbya
[11]. The return of the maltese chicken

APE (EAC Rip) + CUE + LOG files: 360 MB | MP3 - 320 Kbps: 140 MB | Covers

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[15].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Roots & Sprouts

In a satisfying stylistic experiment, Lebanese composer and oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil has decided to put together an album of jazz numbers with no Western instruments other than Glen Moore's stand-up bass. There is Yassin El-Achek on violin, but the violin is almost as much a Middle Eastern instrument as a Western one. El-Achek usually remains in the Middle Eastern style of playing, but occasionally, as on "Wordless" he double-stops and trills like Paganini. The tracks are nicely constructed, and the improvisations are not allowed to run amuck or become shapeless. The tunes are, as usual with Abou-Khalil, Middle Eastern melodies with phrases and turns that nod at Western notions of what "Oriental" music sounds like. This conceit paves the way for the extremely rare event of Abou-Khalil covering someone else's song. And which did he choose? Duke Ellington's "Caravan," the all-time most famous faux-Arabic jazz number! The song turns into a duet between El-Achek's violin and Selim Kusur's nay (Arabic flute). It's fun but lightweight compared to the album's originals. All the instrumentalists are in fine form, particularly Glen Velez, who really shakes his tambourine as well as pulling out his snare drums for several numbers. Abou-Khalil has never been better as a performer, especially on the opening of "Remembering Machgara," where he makes his oud sound like an electric guitar. It helps that the album is unusually well-arranged, even for Abou-Khalil, and well-recorded, even for Enja, everything sounding wonderfully present and defined. This album represents the expatriate Lebanese composer-musician in his prime.
| MP3 VBR H.Q kbps | Incl.Full H.Q Covers | 100 MB |

[01]. Remembering Machghara
[02]. Walking On Air
[03]. Nida
[04]. Revelation
[05]. Wordless
[06]. Sweet Rain
[07]. Outlook
[08]. Caravan
[09]. Dreams Of A Dying City

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[16].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Journey to the Centre of an Egg

New and daring territory...his freest album to date...another high point in a career that’s evidenced nary a misstep. Product Description Oud Master Rabih Abou-Khalil Continues To Break New Boundaries With His Latest Enja/Justin Time recording, Journey To The Centre Of An Egg. For nearly a quarter century, Lebanese-born oud master Rabih Abou-Khalil has defied all of the artificial boundaries and labels to create a musical world entirely his own. With Journey To The Centre Of An Egg, his latest release on Justin-Time/Enja, Rabih once again proves that to the truly visionary artist, creativity offers a canvas of unlimited possibilities. Even many of the most singular and iconoclastic musicians will establish a foundation niche upon which they construct their adventurous explorations. Rabih refuses to be bound even by his own previous designs. With Journey To The Centre Of An Egg – his 11th Enja production and the second to be licensed to Justin Time for North America (following up on the heavily acclaimed Morton’s Foot) – Abou-Khalil brings the piano into his unique musical world for the first time on record. Most appropriately, he has chosen the extraordinary German pianist/composer Joachim Kühn, one of Europe’s most accomplished and respected jazz musicians since he arrived on the scene in the early 1960s.

[01]. Shrewd Woman
[02]. Little Camels
[03]. Die Brücke
[04]. I'm Better Off Without You
[05]. Natwashe And Katwashe
[06]. Mango
[07]. No Plastic Cups, Please
[08]. Sweet And Sour Milk

APE (EAC Rip) + CUE + LOG files: 240 MB | MP3 - 320 Kbps: 130 MB | Covers

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[17].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Il Sospiro

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With more than half a million records sold, Rabih Abou-Khalil is among the top artists on the European jazz market. His name has long been associated with a musical style quite his own that is rooted in Arab tradition, American jazz and European classical music alike but goes far beyond all these. Raised in the cosmopolitan climate of Beirut (Lebanon), Abou-Khalil studied the oud, the Arab short-neck lute, from an early age. Forced by civil war to leave his home country in 1978, he went to Munich (Germany) to study classical flute at the conservatory. From the European perspective, he re-discovered Arab music in a new way and developed possibilities for himself to work simultaneously in two basically different musical systems. A new genre was born.

Abou-Khalil's complex compositions, often based on odd and changing metres, using Arab scales and integrating improvised statements, tend to meander charmingly like oriental tales. In a dozen recordings Abou-Khalil has proved his musical concept to work in different settings: with Arab musicians like Selim Kusur (nay) or Nabil Khaiat (percussion), with great jazz soloists like Charlie Mariano (sax) or Kenny Wheeler (trumpet), with world music protagonists like Michel Godard (tuba) and Milton Cardona (percussion) and even with classical ensembles like Balanescu Quartet and Kronos Quartet.

On his first recording as an unaccompanied oud player, Rabih Abou-Khalil steps forward to new ground. "Il Sospiro" came to life as some kind of musical diary over a period of two years. Whenever the artist felt the inner need to document new musical ideas, he called up his collaborator and sound engineer Walter Quintus for studio time. With great spontaneity and extraordinary sound quality guaranteed, the listener will feel as if sitting in the same room with the musician. "Il Sospiro" shows an intimate, fresh and emotional way of playing the oud that neither aims at virtuosity nor nostalgia. Rich of melody, rhythm, dynamics and creative form, "Il Sospiro" presents something very rare: a personal statement of unpretentious, natural beauty.
[01]. La Seduction: Qawarma
[02]. La Seduction: Charab Et Tout
[03]. La Seduction: Arrous Labneh
[04]. My Favourite Feet
[05]. Serenade To A Mule
[06]. Le Jardin De Chine
[07]. Ghantous
[08]. La Ladra Di Cuori
[09]. Yakhbeir John
[10]. Bofinger
[11]. An Oyster In Paris
[12]. The Birthday Gift
[13]. Afterthought

WavPack (EAC Rip) + CUE + LOG files: 280 MB | MP3 - 320 kbs: 140 MB | Covers

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[18].Rabih Abou Khalil - Em Portugues

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Musical alchemist, oud virtuoso and springer of surprises, Rabih Abou-Khalil has never been shy about immersing himself into challenging musical environments. So the suggestion by Ricardo Pais, director of the Teatro Nacional Sao Joao, Porto to have Abou-Khalil write music to the words of five Portuguese poets represented an irresistible challenge. The project sees Abou-Khalil utilizing a singer for the first time—the impressive fadoist Ricardo Ribeiro. Em Portugues however, is not fado, but a marriage between its poetic, blues spirit and the imagination of Abou-Khalil. The music lies firmly in the bed of the rhythmic complexities and melodies stemming from his Arabic roots and wider musical vision. The result is both challenging and powerful.

It may seem like an odd project, but the oud is not such a distant cousin of the Portuguese guitar and there is an obvious symmetry between the poetry of fado and Arabic song; odes to love, yearning, loss and unrequited love are central to the great body of songs of both cultures, and these poems of the heart and soul must have resonated with Beruit-born Abou-Khalil on a deep level. It wouldn't be impossible to imagine Egyptian legend Om Kolthoum or Lebanese diva Fairouz singing here.

Vocalist Ricardo Ribeiro's powerful baritone voice and rich timbre invest gravitas and beauty on these poems, turning them into songs of vitality and emotional depth. "Como un rio," where his voice is operatically powerful as he in- tones: 'If the night can shelter me ah this sun, this sun, ah this sun is nothing..." then tender in turn, brings all the elements of this experiment together—beautiful lyrics animated by Ribeiro, subtly shifting dynamics, and exhilarating oud playing from Abou-Khalil. There are fewer exhibitions of oud virtuosity here than on the haunting Songs for Sad Women (Enja, 2007) but as always Abou- Khalil is a team player, surrendering himself to the needs of the music. For the most part his oud rides on the wings of Ribeiro's wonderful voice.

Although Ribeiro is arguably the star, this is most definitely a Rabih Abou- Khalil record; the feeling of familiarity which permeates the music of such an original project is down to the chemistry provided by long-standing sidemen Michel Godard on bass, serpent and tuba, Jarrod Cagwin on frame drums, and the tasteful employment of accordion by Luciano Biondini, who has recorded with Abou-Khalil before, on Morton's Foot (Enja, 2007). Broadly speaking, unison lines follow the contours of the songs, although Godard shines on a solo on "Casa de Mariquinahs" accompanied by the wordless voicing of Ribeiro which recalls the great Qawwali singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for power and expression.

The sound translation into English of the intimate, brooding and joyous poetry contained in this beautifully packaged CD, bring these songs to life. The imagery is colorful, moving and unforgettable: "Lovely woman, intimate being, left like an unread book..." These songs are like strange but beautiful stones—hard to put a name on, but most definitely precious.
Rabih Abou-Khalil discovered Ricardo Ribeiro, a young singer from Lisbon who had already established a reputation for himself. He sings Abou-Khalil's compositions as if they were his own, mastering the complicated rhythms and unusual melodic lines with absolute ease. The result is an "imaginary folklore"; a music that sounds new and strange, yet familiar and natural, as if it had always existed. Perhaps it is the missing link between East and West, classical and modern, folklore and art music, deeply rooted in the everywhere and the nowhere

[01]. Como um rio
[02]. No mar das tuas pernas
[03]. A Lua num Quarto
[04]. Amarrado á Saudade
[05]. Assim já Nao da
[06]. Se o meu Amor me Pedisse
[07]. Quando ro Vejo Sorrir
[08]. Casa da Mariquinhas
[09]. Beijos Ateus
[10]. A Gaivota que tu és
[11]. Jogo da vida
[12]. Adolescência perdida

WavPack (EAC Rip) + CUE + LOG files: 340 MB | MP3 - 320 kbs: 140 MB | Covers

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Password if Required : WeLove-music

27 comments:

mainou said...

Merci beaucoup MiOd.. Très très belle collection!!

Anonymous said...

Sensational!
Thanks a lot.

MiOd said...

You're most welcome anytime :)

demnagirl said...

Amazing thank you Miod

Gül said...

That's a great collection. Thanks for your efforts.

sulingman said...

Thanks for the good work. Roots+Sprouts is one of my all time favorites. Would be nice to hear it without all the cd skipping that I have become used to.

mehraz said...

verry thnax....this is great collection...

plz can u help me where i can find indian classical dvdS n mp3s...live shows..plz help me....

thanx in advance...

mrivs said...

That is truly a definitive post! Thanks for your hard work in putting it all together.

bte "Sultan's Picnic" is asking for a PW -? Thanks again

Anonymous said...

PW : WeLove-music

mrivs said...

Thank you kindly!

Anonymous said...

you are the best

johnnyramm said...

Great!

I loved all the music.

Phronesis said...

Thanks to your outstanding efforts, I discovered recently, not the musician (I already knew his "Songs for Sad Women" album), but the extent of Rabih Abou-Khalil's talent. As far as I know (and ignoring 2 earlier works), only "Il Sospiro" and "Em Português" (which is a fine and, for me, meaningful album, since I'm portuguese) are 'missing' from this extraordinary collection of his works. Thank you.

paulopes

Anonymous said...

Great work !!

Please check part2 of "[14].Rabih Abou-Khalil - Morton's Foot "

Thanks,
Bob

MiOd said...

@paulopes,
Em Portugues and Il Sospiro posted.

@Bob,
sorry for that..ill fix it..
other albums..to be updated in H.Q.

Best Regards for all.

Anonymous said...

APE Part 1 for Morton's Foot contains the wrong link, obviously copied from the previous album.
It should link to RAKMF.part1.rar not RAKN.part1.rar

Thanks a lot for your effort!

Anonymous said...

rakaw.part3.rar: CRC-Error in RAK-AW\Rabih Abou-Khalil - Arabian Waltz\(04) [Rabih Abou-Khalil] Georgina.flac.

I downloaded all 4 RARs twice, still the same error.

MiOd said...

@Anon,

Post is fixed! I hope that ;)
Thanks.

Anonymous said...

The Cue Sheet for both Al-Jadida versions (FLAC & mp3) is incorrect, if you listen to the end of the tracks only, you can hear the beginning of the next one.

I fine tuned the cue sheet and came up with this one:

PERFORMER "Rabih Abou-Khalil"
TITLE "Al-Jadida"
FILE "Rabih Abou-Khalil - Al-Jadida - Catania.flac" WAVE
TRACK 01 AUDIO
TITLE "Catania"
INDEX 01 00:00:00
TRACK 02 AUDIO
TITLE "Nashwa"
INDEX 01 07:44:33
TRACK 03 AUDIO
TITLE "An Evening with Jerry"
INDEX 01 17:21:46
TRACK 04 AUDIO
TITLE "When the Lights Go Out"
INDEX 01 24:23:35
TRACK 05 AUDIO
TITLE "Story Teller"
INDEX 01 31:36:63
TRACK 06 AUDIO
TITLE "Ornette Never Sleeps"
INDEX 01 40:28:51
TRACK 07 AUDIO
TITLE "Nadim"
INDEX 01 44:32:16
TRACK 08 AUDIO
TITLE "Wishing Well"
INDEX 01 53:04:60

Anonymous said...

You are the best!
Thanks,
Sergey

Anonymous said...

RAKJou.part3.rar contains a CRC-Error :-(
Downloaded twice.

Anonymous said...

Asking for TARAB in flac, please ...

afterbach said...

Friend MiOd: Thanks, very very much for this gift to my ears. Great collection. Once more time: thanks

Sardo said...

Great Rabih Abou-Khalil!
Some titles I was looking for in shops by years.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible for anybody to post here the first Rabih Abou Khalil recording : "Bitter harvest" ?

MD

Rhino File said...

So looking forward to hearing these. A massive THANK YOU from me, I heard Blue Camel and was in total awe. type of jazz you'd hear playing at a railroad circus carnival. Awesome stuff.

milan nikolic said...

Great.Thank You

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