CD Hotlist weighs in on Ahmed Warshanna’s Ishta

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Ahmed Warshanna


May Edition

Ahmed Warshanna
Tiber River







Sometimes deep emotional turmoil can result in amazing art. In this case, jazz guitarist and composer Ahmed Warshanna was led by watching his mother suffer through cancer treatment to compose an album of music in her honor. In doing so, he decided to celebrate simultaneously the Egyptian popular music that she loved, and that he had heard throughout his childhood, and the hard-bop jazz tradition that is his primary arena of musical expression. He adapted three Egyptian melodies; two by legendary composer and singer Umm Kulthum and one a children’s song that he had often sung with his mother. And he wrote two original compositions that blend Egyptian melodies and harmonies with a jazz idiom and arrangements. His arrangements are well worth noting — he leads a septet here, and creates settings that often blur the lines between solo and ensemble sections; there’s never a sense of chaotic disorganization, but the arrangements tend to be complex and multi-layered, with a sense of joyful freedom. My favorite composition was the slowly but powerfully swinging “Samaka,” but there’s not a weak track here.

Kari Gaffney

Kari Gaffney

Since 1988 Kari-On Productions has helped artists get an even footing in the industry through jazz promotion in the genres of Jazz, World & Latin Jazz through Jazz Radio and Publicity. Why do we do both, because they compliment each other, and we care about fiscal longevity for the artist.

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