Friday, June 11, 2010

A jazzy afternoon at the Fez Festival

A grand piano - a rarity in Fez

The high-energy Dhafer Youssef Quartet from Tunisia had the audience swinging this afternoon at the Batha Museum.

Dhafer Youssef

Chris Jennings

Youssef is a composer and oud player and possesses a superb voice. Influenced by Andalous music and the Sufi tradition, he presented a new jazz project at the Moroccan festival entitled Abu Nawas Rhapsody. Abu Nawas is one of the great Arab poets who emigrated from Iran to Baghdad in 815. Inspired by the joys of drinking wine, he had a somewhat bawdy reputation, but is still considered a great poet. The Rhapsody is dedicated to the poetry of Abu Nawas.

Mark Guiliana

Tigran Hamasyan

A spirited Tigran Hamasyan was on piano, Chris Jennings on bass and Mark Guiliana on percussion.

While jazz is not everyone's cup of tea, this was a superbly performed concert. The flavours of Tunisia with a dash of Euro jazz sums it up. Tigran Hamasyan on piano was on fire and Chris Jennings on bass performed with gusto. While the compositions tended towards the formulaic (reflective intro followed by some pyrotechnics) Youssef's vocal work was engaging and vibrant. It was little wonder the audience found it infectious.

To see all the Fez Festival 2010 stories from Morocco, on The View from Fez, click HERE!

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