by Tom Haugen
Tiber River, 2021
A rising jazz artist from Baltimore, Ahmed Warshanna blends both Eastern and Western ideas into his cultured songwriting, where he takes help from Hart Guonjian-Petit, Dominic Ellis, Daniel Sperlein, Josh Miller, Thomas Owens, and Charlie Seda on these 5 compositions.
“Inty Omry” starts the listen with hypnotic piano from Miller as bright brass and frisky drumming from Seda steer a very interesting 9+ minute opener, and “Alf Leila” follows with a more playful climate of smooth guitars from Warshanna as Guonjian-Pettit’s soulful trumpet adds much depth to the album highlight.
At the halfway point, “Samaka” displays sublime interplay between the artists in a cautious and mesmerizing execution of dreamy song craft, while “Azra’” makes great use of Owens’ bass prowess and, of course, Warshanna’s superb guitar that’s present across the entire listen. “Intisar” exits the listen, and puts the saxophone on display as a lush and unpredictable climate unfolds with incredible memorableness and dexterity.
A very unique fusion effort, Warshanna takes nods to the post-bop of the ‘60s and popular Egyptian music while also being influenced by legends like Wayne Shorter and John Coltrane, and it results in a very fascinating take on jazz.
Travels well with: Wayne Shorter– Jazz At Lincoln Center Orchestra With Wynton Marsalis; Kane Mathis– Geminus