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Songlines, Top of the world
Stereoplay, Jazz-CD des Monats

Albums as perfect as this appear rarely. Tunisian oud maestro Brahem has been one of ECM’s most-revered artists for years, pioneering a superior kind of east-west fusion. But this quartet recording beats anything I’ve heard from him yet. Dedicated to the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, the album’s eight originals trace a continuous arabesque, wind and strings intertwining against a trance-like rhythmic pulse.
Phil Johnson, The Independent

The continuity with previous Brahem work is the lightness of touch with which the pieces are executed, the largely Middle Eastern modal structures being a basis for spare, condensed improvisations, and the charm of much of the music comes from the extremely careful placement of the solo flourish.
Kevin Le Gendre, Jazzwise

Cultures caress rather than clash here, thanks mostly to the centralizing force of Brahem’s fluid and sensitive touch on his instrument, his improvisational fluency and his meditative yet sturdy compositions. … Brahem’s continuing saga makes for one of the more interesting, rewarding and successful experiments on the dangerous and successful experiments on the dangerous turf where so-called “world music” and jazz meet.
Josef Woodard, Jazz Times

Although Brahem’s music is grounded in the traditions that have grown up around the oud over centuries…, his hybridization of those traditions with the ways of European and American jazz have made his extremely individual canon pointedly modern, and very much an example of a genuine world music. Brahem and Gesing’s beguiling interplay – a mystical poetry… – could not exist without rhythmic drive, supplied here… by Swedish bassist Björn Meyer and Lebanes percussionist Khaled Yassine. … Both he and Meyer drive the lead instrumentalists while also gathering a powerful energy between themselves. Throughout these eight tracks, it’s clear that not only do the clarinet and oud belong together, but the ideas that flow from both players mesh into an emotional and intellectual whole as they thrust and parry in turn, bending toward and away from each other.
Robert Baird, Stereophile

Brahmes Musik braucht Zeit. Sie ist eine Pflanze, die langsam wächst, und er ist ihr Gärtner, der sie zum Blühen bringt. Eine entschleunigte Musik, die zum Träumen einlädt.
Daniela Noack, Forum

Here he brings together the unusual ensemble of bass clarinet, bass guitar and Middle Eastern hand percussion to complement his oud playing. Their sparse, low registers leave space for his understated melodies to shine through. … The Astounding Eyes of Rita shows a confidence and clarity of purpose that sets Anouar Brahem apart from all others. It is dedicated to the memory of the Palestinian poet, Mahmoud Darwish: if only we could be all assured of such a beautiful epitaph.
Bill Badley, Songlines

Mit Bassklarinettist Klaus Gesing, Bassist Björn Meyer und Perkussionist Khaled Yassine entfaltet er eine Welt voller Geheimnisse, so verschlungen und undurchdringlich wie eine morgenländische Medina oder eine mittelalterliche Arabeske. Doch … trotzdem ist diese Musik leicht und transparent. Brahem und seinem ungewöhnlichen Team gelingt es, gerade aus der Vereinbarkeit des Unvereinbaren lyrisches Kapital zu schlagen.
Wolf Kampmann, Jazzthing

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