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

Live at Abbey Road Joseph Tawadros MGM Af­ter a trip­tych of su­perla­tive al­bums with Ateam jazz mu­si­cians in New York, sym­phonic sets with Aus­tralia’s finest clas­si­cal play­ers and a multi-in­stru­ment odyssey of a world mu­sic record, oud mae­stro Joseph Tawadros re­turns to a more tra­di­tional Egyp­tian set­ting in Lon­don. That might seem like a ret­ro­gres­sive step for a vir­tu­oso keen to break new ground with the Ara­bic lute, but it’s not the case. Es­o­teric and largely im­pro­vised by Tawadros and his per­cus­sion­ist brother James, the 29-track Live at Abbey Road is one of the more in­no­va­tive al­bums in his cat­a­logue. In the open­ing Four Sols, for ex­am­ple, Tawadros has ex­panded the oud’s lower and higher range by tun­ing its strings to G in four oc­taves. This elic­its hints of rock and jazz with a heavy riff-driven theme, with­out for­feit­ing Ara­bic at­mo­spher­ics. In a later solo study, Con­stel­la­tion, Tawadros em­ploys other new tech­niques to bring the oud closer to slide gui­tar, banjo and man­dolin in sound while main­tain­ing the an­cient in­stru­ment’s in­tegrity. In African Sky and Yet We Still Con­tinue he adopts an­other novel ap­proach that al­lows the oud to ap­prox­i­mate West African kora. Else­where, he evokes the rapid-strummed res­guea­dos of fla­menco with chordal flour­ishes. In Father, Where Art Thou, raw emo­tion drips from dag­ger-like notes. James Tawadros’s in­ven­tive play­ing of Ara­bic frame drum peaks in Beyond Bendir. Else­where, he takes the tiny Egyp­tian tam­bourine (req) to new heights. The tele­pathic mu­si­cal rap­port shared by the broth­ers is ev­i­dent in ev­ery duet.

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