Advertisement
“”
Advertisement
“”

Dave Soldier: Zajal

In brief:
"There is no denying the emotional expression and feeling of the music, the joy and exuberance transmitted, and at times it certainly lifts the spirits, but unless you have a taste for this style, a little goes a long way"

An intriguing release, this is really world music, drawing on Middle Eastern and Andalusian traditions, with guitarist and keyboard player Dave Soldier setting poems, mainly Hebrew and Arabic, to music. For this he uses traditional instrumentation with occasional elements of contemporary music and a sprinkling of jazz.

There are jazz connections in the personnel – bassist Ratzo Harris played with Mose Allison and Betty Carter, trombonist Chris Washburne with Eddie Palmieri, and Soldier himself studied with Roscoe Mitchell. But apart from this, the link is minimal.

Advertisement

The arrangements are impressively swirling, using oud, sentur (an Iranian hammered dulcimer), Latin percussion, strings and wind instruments, with singer Ana Nimouz adding vocals to many of the tracks. Almost all are sung in Hebrew, Arabic, Romance (early Spanish) and Farsi, so this reviewer is at a distinct disadvantage.

That said, The Stars Of Country Music Greet The Spring is in English, performed by Spanish-Cuban-New York modern flamenco musician David Castellano, but he sings in a rather stylised manner, although there are attractive trombone fill-ins and adept guitar work.

There is no denying the emotional expression and feeling of the music, the joy and exuberance transmitted, and at times it certainly lifts the spirits, but unless you have a taste for this style, a little goes a long way. Subsequent listening reveals further nuances and variations, but the language may be a stumbling block for many.

Find out more about Dave Soldier: Zajal at mulatta.org and davesoldier.com

Discography
Raqib (The Spy); Ma’an Walnaar (Water and Fire); Ya Za’iri Fid Doha (My Visitor In The Morning); B’Abi (My Father);Bi-moa (Without Myself); The Stars Of Country Music Greet The Spring; Eretz Sfarad (Land Of Spain); No Me Mordaz Habibi (Don’t Bite Me Baby); Krav (Battle); Beautiful Boy; Hal-dara Zabyu al-Hima (49.40)
Soldier (g, kyb); Ana Nimouz, Triana Bautista, David Castellano, Barbara Martinez, Ismael Fernadez, Anais Tekarian (v); Maurice Chedid (oud, v); Chris Washburne, Dan Blacksberg (tb); Philip Payton, Rebecca Cherry (vn); Alan Kushan (sentur); Lefteris Bournias (cl); Mahmoud Hamadani (rec); Ratzo Harris (b); Jose Moreno (pc, traps, v); Robby Ameen (tim); Ismael Fernandez, Sonia Alla, Neli Tirado (palmas, jaleo); Rory Young (kyb). New York, 2019.
Mulatta MUL043

Advertisement
Advertisement

Jazz Journal articles by month

Advertisement
“”

Count Basie: Basie on The Beatles

This was Count Basie’s second riffle through the Beatles songbook, the first, Basie’s Beatles Bag, having been released in 1966. Perhaps ironically,...
Advertisement

Obituary: Joseph Jarman

When the Chicago AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) organisation was formed in 1965, two of the mainstay groups involved...
Advertisement

Pete Christlieb: A tenor for all seasons /2

Continued from last month...Among the many who have validated Pete's very personal sound is Warne Marsh. At their first meeting on a...
Advertisement

Straighten Up And Fly Right: The Life And Music Of Nat King Cole

More than a half-century after his death, Nat King Cole’s popularity remains extraordinarily high, even though the world...
Advertisement

Joe Louis Walker: Viva Las Vegas Live

Joe Louis Walker came to Las Vegas, strapped on his guitar, plugged in and blasted the desert city with a set chock-full...
Advertisement

JJ 02/59: Jazzman’s Diary by Jack Higgins

Jazz a la King - The three main centres for modern jazz fans these days are the Marquee, Dankworth and Flamingo clubs....