There is, quite simply, no trumpeter in the world today who sounds like Ibrahim Maalouf. This has everything to do with his instrument, which is reported to be similar to the microtonal one invented by his father. But instrument (with all of its idiosyncratic features) notwithstanding, Mr Maalouf has the ability to infuse his laying with a rare degree of emotion even when – unlike many of his contemporaries – he is playing extremely loudly for considerable lengths of time on a given piece of music. This is not to say that he does so, but when he does play at extreme fortississmo with a sforzando added on top of everything else, Mr Maalouf’s playing can reveal incredible nuances of emotion.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album
On top of all of his unique virtuoso abilities is the cultural advantage, for Mr Maalouf is of Middle Eastern (Lebanese) origin and his roots lie deep in the musical topography that includes such legendary musicians as Oum Khaltoum, Fayrouz and Najah Salaam. However, Mr Maalouf chose to play primarily contemporary western music, improvising as the great Jazz trumpeters have seduced him to. The result is music that is breathtaking to listen to. S3NS is not simply one of these recordings; it is probably his finest work to date. In fact, if he never makes another recording in his life again, his reputation will most certainly rest on this one.
The album begins with a soaring song, “Una rosa blanca” which is inspired both by José Marti’s seminal poem “Cultivo una rosa blanca” and (figuratively-speaking), the hand of friendship extended by President Obama when he began the process of disentangling the US from the decades-long embargo imposed on Cuba. Mr Obama’s recitation of the poem by Marti opens the song followed by a baleful trumpet that begins to soar and elevating both volume and emotion until both are absolutely stratospheric. We never really come down from that rarefied plane as Mr Maalouf’s music unfolds throughout this magnificent album, S3NS. This is his 11th studio recording project as a leader, released in September 2019.
The trumpeter is joined by a cast of stellar soloists – Harold López-Nussa on “Una rosa blanca”, the tenor saxophonist Irving Acao whose wailing solo matches Mr Maalouf’s appears on “Harlem”. “Na Na Na” features a breathtaking performance by the virtuoso violinist Yilian Cañizares; pianist Alfredo Rodríguez has a masterful turn on “N.E.G.U” and Roberto Fonseca’s pianism dazzles soon after, on “Gebrayel” (the Arabic rendering of the Latin Gabriel – a reference no doubt to the archangel of the same name).
But throughout this music it is the mastery of Mr Maalouf that takes your breath away. Every piece on S3NS is played with languid ease, each melodic variation following the other, quite inexorably, his sumptuous trumpet sound brilliantly caught on this recording. His virtuosity always dazzles in every sense as he reels off one masterpiece of music after the other with debonair; almost insolent ease. This is absolutely an album to die for.
Track list – 01: Una rosa blanca; 02: Happy Face; 03: S3NS; 04: Harlem; 05: Na Na Na; 06: N.E.G.U; 07: Gebrayel; 08: All I Can’t Say; 09: Radio Magallanes
Personnel – Ibrahim Maalouf: trumpet and electronics; Francois Delporte: electric guitar; Stephane Galland: piano; Denys Danielides: soubassophon; Yacha Berdah: trumpet/ sampler and computer; and featuring – Harold López-Nussa: piano; Yilian Cañizares: violin; Irving Acao: tenor saxophone; Alfredo Rodriguez: piano; Roberto Fonseca: piano
Released – 2019
Label – Mi’ster
Runtime – 45:57
Spanish Director Fernando Trueba Talks About His New Film: They Shot The Piano Player
The John Santos Sextet & Friends: Vieja Escuela
14th Annual Puerto Rico Jazz Jam at Centro de Bellas Artes in Santurce
Hilario Durán and his Latin Jazz Big Band Nominated for 2024 JUNO Awards
John Santos Sextet “Vieja Escuela” CD Release Concert
Past, Present and Future in the Music of Aruán Ortiz
The Latin Side of Jazz Episode 36
Roberto Fonseca: La Gran Diversión
Introducing Percussionist, Composer Vernon Chatlein
Cuban Pianist, Composer Dánae Olano To Release Debut Album: “Children’s Corner”
Vernon Chatlein: Imershón
Corina Bartra Afro Peruvian New Trends Orchestra: Cosmic Synchronicities
Juan García-Herreros – The Snow Owl: Normas
Raphael Cruz Reaffirms His Commitment To Latin Jazz!
Edy Martínez, the Music Architect Behind the Piano
Rubén Blades con Roberto Delgado & Orquesta · Son de Panamá
Celebrating Emiliano Salvador and his Musical Legacy
Cubano Be, Cubano Bop: A Memorable Night in Toronto with Poncho Sánchez
A Conversation with Percussionist, Bandleader Poncho Sanchez
The Odyssey of Anat Cohen
Paquito D’Rivera & Quinteto Cimarrón: Aires Tropicales
Have You Seen My Nana? The Enduring Genius of Moacir Santos
Enrique Rodríguez: Enriquito – Me Quito El Sombrero
Roberto López Afro-Colombian Jazz Orchestra: Azul
Most Read in 2023
Featured9 months ago
SANTOS: Skin To Skin – Film Review
Liner Notes10 months ago
Conrad Herwig: Soulfully Mad for Charles Mingus on The Latin Side of Mingus
Artist Profiles7 months ago
Introducing Pianist, Composer Jorge Luis Pacheco
News8 months ago
Roberto Fonseca Releases New Single And Announces Release Date For New Album