The Weekend Australian - Review - - Music Reviews - Tony Hillier

Rev­e­la­tion The Khoury Pro­ject Enja records

The Syd­ney-based, Egyp­tian-de­scended Tawadros brothers, Joseph and James, have taken oud and per­cus­sion-driven Middle East­ern-de­rived com­po­si­tions into jazz realms in re­cent years. Pales­tinian-born, Jor­dan-raised and for the past nine years Paris-based sib­lings Elia, Basil and Osama Khoury have utilised the Ara­bic lute — al­beit one of Turk­ish rather than Egyp­tian ori­gin — as well as qa­noun (zither) and vi­olin in a not dis­sim­i­lar ca­pac­ity. Like their Aussie coun­ter­parts, the Khourys man­age to break free of the stylis­tic shack­les in which mu­si­cians of their back­ground of­ten find them­selves while banishing the in­sipid cliches as­so­ci­ated with the genre neb­u­lously dubbed world mu­sic fu­sion. But, while Rev­e­la­tion might be a bet­ter-than-av­er­age meet­ing of minds and modes, one in which Middle East­ern and Mediter­ranean mu­sic, maqam and Ma­jorPhry­gian scales merge with jazz chops and im­prov, there’s a tad too much me­an­der­ing and in­suf­fi­cient melody for the Khourys’ lat­est re­lease to be favourably com­pared with any of the Tawadros brothers’ ARIA-gar­ner­ing al­bums. Tracks im­bued with rhyth­mic charge from the projects’ per­cus­sion­ists — Cuban-flavoured from Inor So­to­longo; ori­en­tally ori­ented from Youssef Hbeisch — and French jazzman’s Guillaume Robert’s upright bass pro­vide the set high­lights. The per­cus­sion­ists push vi­o­lin­ist Basil Khoury to Jean-Luc Ponty-like flights of fancy in a 13minute-plus cor­ner­stone piece, A Walk in the Old City, and ac­com­pany mean­ing­ful ex­changes be­tween Osama K’s qa­noun and Elia K’s oud be­fore solo­ing them­selves. Zither plays the part of fla­menco gui­tar in a riv­et­ing 10-minute-plus ren­di­tion of Paco de Lu­cia’s Zyryab, the sole cover. The stringed in­stru­ments in Gypsy Trance cast a spell that’s rem­i­nis­cent of the great Roma band Taraf de Haidouks.


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