Reviews that mention Mazen Kerbaj

August 11, 2016

Dörner, Hautzinger, Kerbaj, Hübsch

Ariha Brass Quartet
Al Maslakh 18

By Ken Waxman

Challenging the reductionist idea that music from the non-western world only fits in the so-called ethnic category are Beirut’s committed free improvisers. Like outsiders whose grasp of a language’s grammar sometimes exceeds that of natives, within the past decade Lebanese sound explorers have proven their skill playing alongside advanced improvisers from elsewhere, at the city’s annual free music Irtijal Festival, or in ad hoc settings in Lebanon or Europe. This CD confirms this combination as Beirut-based trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj’s ideas are integrated within the Ariha Brass Quartet (ABQ) which also includes Austrian trumpeter Franz Hautzinger as well as Germans, trumpeter Axel Dörner and tubaist Carl Ludwig Hübsch. MORE

June 25, 2012

“A” Trio

Music to Our Ears
Al Maslakh Recordings 14

Sei Miguel/Pedro Gomes

Turbina Anthem

No Business Records NBCD 29

Abstracting and reconstituting timbres and textures from acoustic instruments to produce unique performances are the raisons d’etre of these challenging CDs. Recorded in two cities not known as epicenters of improvisation – Beirut and Lisbon – Music to Our Ears and Turbina Anthem prove that at least some Portuguese and Lebanese sound explorers are investigating the same forms as players elsewhere and with equally provocative results. MORE

October 6, 2010

Festival Météo, Mulhouse, France

August 24 to August 28
By Ken Waxman

Proving that varieties of improvised music can sound as different as the personalities of those who play it, the annual Météo festival offered a cornucopia of noteworthy sounds from the bombastic to the barely audible, solo or in groups.

Venues in this Upper Rhine French city, located 30 kilometres northwest of Basel, Switzerland, also reflected this sonic diversity. Performances take place in the hushed surroundings of a 12th Century chapel downtown, and on the city’s outskirts, a capacious night club usually used for rock shows; and, new this year, within the expanses of an abandoned 1930s’ thread manufacturing factory. MORE

November 14, 2008

Stephen Haynes-Taylor Ho Bynum

The Double Trio
Engine e026

Mazen Kerbaj/Birgit Ulher/Sharif Sehnaoui

3:1

Creative Sources CS 110 CD

Throughout the history of improvised music and jazz, two-trumpet sessions have never been as popular as duets between saxophonists. Oh there were dates featuring Art Framer and Donald Byrd in the 1950s, for example, and Roy Hargrove and Marlon Jordan in the 1980s, plus a whole collection of Norman Granz-instigated blowing sessions in between. But it seems as if the preferred locus for dual improvising is a commingling of many saxophone keys rather than sets of three valves. MORE

November 14, 2008

Mazen Kerbaj/Birgit Ulher/Sharif Sehnaoui

3:1
Creative Sources CS 110 CD

Stephen Haynes-Taylor Ho Bynum

The Double Trio

Engine e026

Throughout the history of improvised music and jazz, two-trumpet sessions have never been as popular as duets between saxophonists. Oh there were dates featuring Art Framer and Donald Byrd in the 1950s, for example, and Roy Hargrove and Marlon Jordan in the 1980s, plus a whole collection of Norman Granz-instigated blowing sessions in between. But it seems as if the preferred locus for dual improvising is a commingling of many saxophone keys rather than sets of three valves. MORE

February 19, 2008

Tom Chant/Sharif Sehnaoui

Cloister
Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 05

MAWJA

Studio One

Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 07

MAWJA

“Live One”

Chloë 008

Various Artists

Beirut-Ystad

Olof Bright Editions OBCD 16-17

Despite the political instability and sectarian violence that continues to disrupt the country, improbably enough the nascent Lebanese Free Music movement seems to progress from strength to strength.

Not only does Beirut’s annual festival of improvised music attract major Free Music stylists from overseas, but Lebanese improvisers are starting to travel and make an impression elsewhere. This situation is reflected in this set of impressive CDs. Just as importantly, it also confirms the universality of improvisation. Reductionist and electro-acoustic, the results heard from the locals are no more stereotypical Middle Eastern than others’ improvisations reflect Continental Europe or the United States. MORE

February 19, 2008

MAWJA

Studio One
Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 07

MAWJA

“Live One”

Chloë 008

Various Artists

Beirut-Ystad

Olof Bright Editions OBCD 16-17

Tom Chant/Sharif Sehnaoui

Cloister

Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 05

Despite the political instability and sectarian violence that continues to disrupt the country, improbably enough the nascent Lebanese Free Music movement seems to progress from strength to strength.

Not only does Beirut’s annual festival of improvised music attract major Free Music stylists from overseas, but Lebanese improvisers are starting to travel and make an impression elsewhere. This situation is reflected in this set of impressive CDs. Just as importantly, it also confirms the universality of improvisation. Reductionist and electro-acoustic, the results heard from the locals are no more stereotypical Middle Eastern than others’ improvisations reflect Continental Europe or the United States. MORE

February 19, 2008

MAWJA

“Live One”
Chloë 008

MAWJA

Studio One

Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 07

Various Artists

Beirut-Ystad

Olof Bright Editions OBCD 16-17

Tom Chant/Sharif Sehnaoui

Cloister

Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 05

Despite the political instability and sectarian violence that continues to disrupt the country, improbably enough the nascent Lebanese Free Music movement seems to progress from strength to strength.

Not only does Beirut’s annual festival of improvised music attract major Free Music stylists from overseas, but Lebanese improvisers are starting to travel and make an impression elsewhere. This situation is reflected in this set of impressive CDs. Just as importantly, it also confirms the universality of improvisation. Reductionist and electro-acoustic, the results heard from the locals are no more stereotypical Middle Eastern than others’ improvisations reflect Continental Europe or the United States. MORE

February 19, 2008

Various Artists

Beirut-Ystad
Olof Bright Editions OBCD 16-17

MAWJA

Studio One

Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 07

MAWJA

“Live One”

Chloë 008

Tom Chant/Sharif Sehnaoui

Cloister

Al Maslakh Recordings MSLKH 05

Despite the political instability and sectarian violence that continues to disrupt the country, improbably enough the nascent Lebanese Free Music movement seems to progress from strength to strength.

Not only does Beirut’s annual festival of improvised music attract major Free Music stylists from overseas, but Lebanese improvisers are starting to travel and make an impression elsewhere. This situation is reflected in this set of impressive CDs. Just as importantly, it also confirms the universality of improvisation. Reductionist and electro-acoustic, the results heard from the locals are no more stereotypical Middle Eastern than others’ improvisations reflect Continental Europe or the United States. MORE

December 4, 2007

Michael Zerang and Others

Cedarhead
Al Maslakh 06

Participant two years running in Irtijal, Beirut’s improvised music festival (see CODA 323), Chicago percussionist Michael Zerang recorded these duos with seven Lebanese players during his second visit. The resulting CD is not only a fascinating document of a little-heard musical scene, but also proof that provocative sounds can arise in an isolated, war-torn country.

Product of one of the Middle East’s most sophisticated cultures, the Beirut improvisers make their statements using everything from guitar, trumpet and saxophone to futuristic electronics to the traditional wind instrument, the nay. Zerang, whose arsenal ranges from the standard drum kit to miscellaneous percussion, includes in it the darbuka or North African hourglass-shaped drum used to accompany belly dancers, to make a memorable connection with musicians.. MORE

September 18, 2005

Rouba3i5

Rouba3i5
Al Maslakh

Mazen Kerbaj and Franz Hautzinger
Abu Tarek
Creative Sources

Franz Hautzinger
Franz Hautzinger's Oriental Space
Artonal

By Ken Waxman
September 18, 2005

Unbeknownst to most, over the past few years Lebanese players have quietly put together the only improvised music scene in the Middle East outside of Israel. Known as the most sophisticated of Arab nations before the disastrous civil war of 1975 to1990 and despite recent political instability, Lebanon is still open to outside influences and that's how a small group of questing players first discovered Free Music a few years ago. MORE

September 7, 2005

Multiphonics in the Middle East

Taking stock of Lebanon’s Improv scene
From CODA Issue 323

By Ken Waxman

“I was born the same year of the Lebanese war, and I lived in it until its end and in fact I’m more and more convinced that there’s a close relation between it and my kind of playing today,” explains Beirut-based trumpeter Mazen Kerbaj, 30. “A lot of my passion for this music [Free Jazz] comes from my childhood, it reminds me unconsciously of the soundscapes of bombs and rifles that filled my ears during my childhood.”

War and bombs aside, the CD that so affected Kerbaj and his friends and introduced them to Free Jazz, was Peter Brötzmann’s Machine Gun, complete with its war-like cover. This initiation soon led to he and other like-minded players amassing as many Free Improv CDs as they could by the likes of Evan Parker and Charlie Haden. MORE