Michel Sajrawy - Writings on the Wall (Music CD)

Release Date: 15 October 2012
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The press release that Germany's Ozella Music sent out with Writings on the Wall described this 2007 recording as "a ride on the West-Eastern flying carpet" -- jazz being the "West" part, Arabic and Middle Eastern music being the "Eastern" part. And for those who know a lot about jazz's history, it makes perfect sense for a Palestinian guitarist like Michel Sajrawy to be a part of jazz (specifically, post-bop and fusion). The modal post-bop explosion of the late '50s and the 1960s found Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, and many others combining jazz with the type of modal or scalar playing that is used in Middle Eastern, Arabic, Jewish, North African, Indian, Turkish, and Armenian music; modal jazz was a departure from the chord-based improvisation of hard bop -- and the improvisers who fared well in the modal realm had a lot to say harmonically. Sajrawy certainly has a lot to say harmonically on original pieces such as "Ya Salam," "Bride of the Galilee," "Pink Inside," and "Earth, Wind and Fire," all of which have a strong Middle Eastern influence. Most of this album is essentially post-bop, although some of Sajrawy's improvisations are rock-influenced enough to be called fusion. But rock-influenced or not, the Middle Eastern element always asserts itself to some degree on Writings on the Wall -- and it is clear that having grown up in a part of the world where modal playing reigns supreme was advantageous for Sajrawy as a jazz musician. That said, Writings on the Wall isn't groundbreaking; Middle Eastern music was influencing post-bop jazz long before 2007. But Sajrawy is an expressive, appealing guitarist, and he shines as both an improviser and a composer on Writings on the Wall. ~ Alex Henderson
Release Date: 15 October 2012

1. Bride of the Galilee
2. Writings on the Wall
3. Ta Ti Ta Ta
4. Blue Sheep
5. Pink Inside
6. Ya Salam
7. Earth, Wind and Fire
8. Green
9. The Arch and the Branch

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Catalogue No: OZ016CD