Jadid Ensemble – Sigh of the Moor

Album: Sigh of the Moor
Artist: Jadid Ensemble
Release Date: March 10, 2011
Genre/Region: Fusion, Middle-Eastern, Flamenco, North African

This is the outstanding debut album from the Manchester group, Jadid Ensemble. Skillfully blending flamenco and jazz with Arabic and Turkish sounds, the group produces a blissfully serene album.

The album features a range of instruments with Glenn Sharp, the driving force of Jadid Ensemble, on guitars, oud and saz, Paul Cheneour on flutes and neys, Olivia Moore on violin, Adam Warne on percussion, and Gavin Barras on double bass. Weaving their different sounds and styles together, this talented group takes an atmospheric journey through Southern Spain and North Africa.

With a dramatic opening, Sigh of the Moor begins with a haunting and distant call to prayer that is eventually enveloped by a sublime guitar. This track, “Llamar”, beautifully sets the tone for the rest of the album—evocative yet peaceful.

Despite the overall feeling of calm and tranquility, the album does have a few delightful tracks full of energy. The track “Vandal” conjures images of a North African street market, busy with activity. “Tango Arabe” is passionate and powerful, suddenly breaking into a rhythmic flamenco-inspired finish. “The Storyteller” again brings you back to the streets as if you had just stumbled upon a street performer who launches into a spirited story.

The finest track on the album is “Ilm”. The simple, ancient-sounding melodies weave delicately in and out of each other, slowing building intensity over a steady pulse.

The album lives up to its claim of “film score style production”, creating a musical story that travels through Spain and the Middle East with a clear beginning and end. While the album makes for undeniably beautiful listening, the music is not superficial and the listener has a definite sense of transformation at its conclusion, very much like a film.

I highly recommend this album. Jadid Ensemble has produced an outstanding debut and set the bar high for subsequent recordings, which I will be eagerly awaiting.

You can listen to “Ilm”, “Raag”, “Vandal”, and “Tango Arabe” from Jadid Ensemble’s Sigh of the Moor on Glenn Sharp’s myspace page: www.myspace.com/glennsharpworld.

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