Released April 27, 2018 The Planet/MGM JT2018A
Produced by Joseph Tawadros
All compositions by Joseph Tawadros
Purchase and preview digital album: iTunes
The new album features Joseph and four top musicans from the jazz and world music fields. Inspired by middle eastern, classical and contemporary jazz, they perform a dynamic and passionate set of new Tawadros compositions. 2018 marks 10 years since the popular and much-loved Angel Suite, and this is the ‘Angel band’ re-united, enhanced with double bass.
Musicians on the album are: Joseph Tawadros – oud, Matt McMahon – piano, Karl Dunnicliff on double bass, Dimitry Vouros on clarinet and James Tawadros on Egyptian req and bendir.
“This album is organic music making. Five musicians in one studio, a few microphones and a whole lot of imagination. The key was to listen. It’s as important as the playing. These players not only possess great musicianship, they are great listeners. Listening to their fellow players, running with an idea, knowing went to say something musically and when not to,” said Joseph.
JOSEPH’S THOUGHTS ABOUT THE ALBUM
The album title is about the different emotional facets of being human – such as wisdom, silliness, sadness, joy and triumph. We all possess these ‘qualities’, sometimes working together, sometimes disjointed. The Bluebird is based on Charles Bukowski‘s poem of the same name, and is very much open to interpretation. That’s the beauty of instrumental music: the individual interpretations each person feels through sound without words; the images that are conjured by allowing the mind to wander over a sonic space.
Although the sound of the ensemble carries on from Angel, there is a new found freshness and content. Some of the pieces let go and run wild, some are restrained, some are musical mantras repeated over and over into trance. I decide upon the shape and draw the road map, but it’s up to the ensemble to take the music on detours through different landscapes before reaching its destination.
Dimitri Vouros is an unsung hero on the clarinet, yet one of Australia’s finest. He has a vision and type of restraint that I have not heard anywhere and is perfect in understanding and contributing to the play as it happens. James Tawadros, the world best req player – with his amazing variations, grooves and armoury which can turn a piece on its head in a second and anticipate the other players’ choices. Matt McMahon has been making music with me for 10 years and his inventive, lyrical touch and deep musicianship is magic. Bassist Karl Dunnicliff has been with us for 4 years now and is a strong shining element of the group.
Performing over the years with these amazing players has been a great privilege, and there’s always been fun, spontaneity and magic. Through experience we pick up on tricks, patterns and gets accustomed to stylistic features of each other and that’s why the interplay between us although highly improvised, sounds organic and natural.
“One of the most impressive musicians to emerge in Australia … with a dazzling technique dispensing hair-raising tempos… His writing displays a real depth of emotion …revelling in a zest for life and celebration.” – The Australian
Joseph Tawadros AM, is a multi- award winning virtuoso player of the Oud – a Middle Eastern lute. He was born in Cairo, grew up in Sydney and currently lives in London.
Joseph’s music brings middle-eastern, classical and contemporary jazz together seamlessly and he is considered by peers and music critics to be a truly original performer and an innovative composer. Joseph takes the oud into new territory, smashing both genre boundaries and expectations while creating a unique fusion of traditional arabic, jazz and contemporary music.
Joseph’s original works have been performed by BBC Symphony Orchestra, Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne and Sydney Symphony Orchestras and the Academy of Ancient Music in London. In 2017 Joseph performed at the BBC Proms in Dubai, in Ukraine, Poland, Vienna, London, Manchester, as well as several Australian cities including the premiere of his Concerto for Oud and Orchestra with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
30 July 2018: Joseph is the first world-music performer to present a solo concert of original compositions at the world-famous classical concert series, the BBC Proms.
JOSEPH’S NOTES ON THE TRACKS
- The Bluebird
Melancholic piece with interweaving passages, hope mixed with triumph and sadness. Flamenco-esque chord progression with Oud stating the melody before allowing solos for Clarinet and Piano
- Little Bird 1:45
A solo companion piece to The Bluebird
- The Secret Spell 4:09
On the Arabic mode Nawa Athar, it follows a similar modal progression like the opening track. The clarinet is soulful and full of longing and the Oud plays with more traditional phrasing. The Piano grounds the piece in a type of mantra with the repeated passages staying the same while the Oud, Clarinet and Bendir weave in and out of the sonic space.
- Inner Birth 6:04
Starts with an Oud Solo setting up a riff which makes way for the clarinet and then the Piano. The bass is bowed adding a drone, sounding like a Didjeridu at times before moving into pizzicato and taking of the riff, allowing the Piano to take a more chordal role.
- A Cry in the Wilderness 3:50
A screaming clarinet calling for help, alone before making way for the Piano and Oud in the lower register, adding a type of hesitance and anxiety before settling, coming calmer and allowing the instruments to solo in their distinctive style
- Madame Monique 1:07
A solo Oud intro on C major for the following piece.
- Monsieur Jacques 5:48
Coming out of the pain and anxiety of the first 5 pieces into joy and more playful interplay between the ensemble. This ends the first half of the album which I see as a type of suite: a journey of the tracks that will be good listened to in sequence.
- The Mystic 4:29
A very unusual scale which isn’t used in Arabic music. I decided to experiment with it and try and create a melody with it even though it doesn’t lend itself to such. The piano stays mysterious throughout with the Oud leading and the bass grounding the piece in the use of the tonic. The clarinet weaves in and out around the melody like a string quartet accompaniment.
- Ms A 1:06
A variation on the Bluebird track on solo Oud, with improvised response passages to the Flamenco-esque call phrase.
- The Fool 2:13
A circus of sounds, the Oud and electric Bass are walking like a walking bass line. The bass stays constant while the other instruments interplay in a type chromatic counterpoint before settling on the blues scale for the Oud to improvise over.
- Hide 0:45
- Echoes of Angel 3:37
The Bendir sets up a rhythm for a very simple Oud line to come in and then the piano to join in to respond to the simple Oud statements. The piece builds up using the opening Oud line as the base for variations.
- The Rise and Fall 6:17
A very lively piece which is celebratory starting with Oud being percussive for the clarinet to solo over before the bass comes in and takes over from the oud allowing to interplay With the clarinet and Piano until they reach a climax and then eventually slowing down and settling into a sadder slower statement.
- The Realisation 4:39
A companion piece to the track before, it carries the sadness of the end of the peace but searches for peace.
- We Rise Again 3:32
An African feel with much interplay
- Trance in 15 2:52
- Seek 1:00
- Before the Thought 5:23
- Drawing Closer 2:50
A piece which allows James’ req to shine
- Send in the Fool 5:42
A companion piece to The Mystic, it uses the same scale before modulating into F minor for a more tonal finish
- Lost Without You 6:10