The melding of music from what is called “The 10-40 Window” (check the latitudes and longitudes some day)is what will probably propel jazz into the 21st Century. Here are two different approaches. One assimilates, the other accommodates.
Nashaz is comprised of Brian Prunka/oud, Kenny Warren/tp, Nathan Herrera/reeds, Apostolos Sideris/b, Vin Scialla/riq, and George Mel/perc. Together they mix the best elements of jazz and nomadic folk music. With Prunka’s oud creating a mysterious atmosphere, Warren and Herrera provide adventurously lyrical to slightly outside solos to material such as “Hijaz Nashaz” and “Qassabji’s Nightmare” that allow the penetrating themes keep the soloists from getting lost in the Sahara sands. Caravan like grooves laid down by Sideris on a piece such as “Khartoum” allows Prunka time to explore the side streets of the souk, while a danceable dervish is provided for on “’Ajam”. Penetrating and image provoking sounds that will satisfy and leave an excellent aftertaste like a plump medjool date.
Guitarist Albare was born in Morocco, but uses his native land sounds as a visceral guide rather than a source of chord progressions. He veers toward mainstream, and he plays it with wonderful lyricism along with Phil Turcio/p, Yunior Terry/b and Pablo Bencid/dr. Lots of the tunes have thoughtful and even Iberian intros, with Give me 5” showing off Albare’s Benson-influenced clean chops and “The Gift” highlighting his ability to move around tricky beats. His ballad reading of a song such as “Tender You” is superb, and the whole team bops to the blues on “Heart of Heart.” Allan Harris brings vocals for a coy “Overjoyed” and some Mediterranean warm permeates the two part title track. A winning way!