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.