“Bukra” sits somewhere between the improvisational “Between Dusk And Dawn” and the traditional “Nafas”. Although the percussion still plays a very important role in the music, it is not as dominant as it was on “Nafas”. There are 7 tracks, building to the excellent “Reflections” which closes the album. The lineup for this album is very similar to “Between Dusk And Dawn”.
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.
Personnel: Rabih Abou-Khalil (oud), Sonny Fortune (alto saxophone), Glen Moore (bass), Glen Velez (frame drums, percussion, overtone vocals), Ramesh Shotham (South Indian drums, percussion).