Blue Flame

Blue Flame

5.0 1
by Simon Shaheen
     
 
Oud maestro Simon Shaheen has crafted the best kind of world fusion with Blue Flame, that whose elements flow seamlessly together in a rich new sound all its own. Shaheen, Palestinian-born and New York-based, is an acknowledged dynamo on the oud, as the first mind-blowing runs of "Blue Flame" make abundantly clear. He also gives quite a workout on violin,

Overview

Oud maestro Simon Shaheen has crafted the best kind of world fusion with Blue Flame, that whose elements flow seamlessly together in a rich new sound all its own. Shaheen, Palestinian-born and New York-based, is an acknowledged dynamo on the oud, as the first mind-blowing runs of "Blue Flame" make abundantly clear. He also gives quite a workout on violin, notably handling the melody of a completely reimagined version of "Tea in the Sahara," by the Police. But don't let the pop covers fool you -- Blue Flame is a serious instrumental album, carefully crafted by a team of top musicians, including top Middle Eastern percussionists, Jamie Haddad and Steve Sheehan. Underpinning Shaheen's discursive musical imagination is a rock-solid foundation of Arabic and Middle Eastern music, American jazz, and the Western classical canon. Not that he doesn't have fun -- several tunes, including "Waving Sands" and "Al-Qantara," breeze along with Latin and African rhythms, saxophones and trumpets weaving deftly through the omnipresent oud and flute. Intelligent, spirited, and enchanting, Blue Flame is every bit the career album its creator feels it is and should be required listening for fans of adventurous Middle Eastern music and world jazz alike.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Tom Semioli
Simon Shaheen's Blue Flame is world fusion with a commercial twist. On this intriguing collection, Shaheen melds Arabic, jazz, Indian, North African Mediterranean, and classical music via his expertise on the oud and violin with compositions that often display congruity with Western pop song structure. "Waving Sands," with its stated melody in the intro and succeeding solo sections, recalls the exhilarating mesh of rock and jazz that such groundbreaking outfits as Weather Report and the Mahavishnu Orchestra championed in the early '70s. Shaheen's interpretation of Sting's "Tea in the Sahara" quickly develops into another captivating exercise of impromptu redefinition of Western music with layers of percussive polyrhythms and extended solos that flourish without obscuring the original motif. In the spirit of crossover appeal, Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens guests on "Silk Tears," a composition that evokes the sadness of a French chanson before exploding into grand moments of improvisation. It's definitely not something one would expect from the pairing of a world-renown Arabic instrumentalist with a guitarist who defined new wave rock in the 1980s; however, the combination of the two certainly captures the euphoric spirit of exploration which underpins each selection on this disc. Experimenting with a myriad of styles and subjects, Shaheen weaves Middle East and Turkish themes into "Olive Harvest," a joyful celebration of village life in his home of Tarshiha. In the track named for his dexterous backing ensemble "Al-Qantara," Shaheen employs heavy flamenco rhythms with complex passages that are lyrical and often play against the beat, implying altered time signatures and multiple key changes. Blue Flame is a cohesive and accessible array of world fusion that will appeal to purists and novices alike.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/12/2001
Label:
Ark 21
UPC:
0618685002228
catalogNumber:
850022

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Blue Flame
  2. Waving Sands
  3. Tea in the Sahara
  4. Dance Mediterranea
  5. Bosphorus Scenes Under the Moonlight
  6. Silk Tears
  7. Frantasie for Oud and String Quartet
  8. Saraab
  9. Olive Harvest
  10. Al-Qantara
  11. Breeze in Bisaan

Album Credits

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Blue Flame 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of a kind and very beautiful. It's a harmonious blend of music, which created a new and beautiful genre. I would be surprized if this recording does not get at least nominated for a Grammy