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Groovily Exotic – Jarvi Rocks the Band

Fest 08: Absolute Arabian

Groovily Exotic – Jarvi Rocks the Band

The Arabian stallions of Middle Eastern music will unite with the “musical omnivores” of contemporary music to bring Absolute Arabian Nights – a combination of classical music and jazz infused with the sound and spirit of the Middle East.

This extraordinary sonic journey through a still largely unfamiliar, ambiguous world, Absolute Arabian Nights addresses something even more current and important. Imagine a group of 20 or so New Yorkers, witnesses to the aftermath of September 11, living every day in the bubbling controversy that is America. Visualise those same New Yorkers banding together with musicians from the Middle East and with no words at all sending out one big message to the world – make music together.

“Arabian Night’s ... unending rhythmic vitality ... simmers in an exotic stew of funk, jazz, blues, and klezmer.” Palm Beach Post

This East-meets-West project, sponsored by Newstalk ZB, combines today's orchestral instruments with ageless Arabic instruments and singing styles. This results in a programme of music that has exquisitely meditative solos, contrasted by the whirling winds and erupting rhythm section of the Absolute Ensemble.

It is directed by Kristjan Järvi, who has been described by the New York Times as “a kinetic force on the podium, Leonard Bernstein reborn as a conductor of fusion bands”, and created by Järvi and Swiss composer and saxophonist Daniel Schnyder.

As an arranger/composer Daniel Schnyder has produced albums for jazz artists, including a variety of projects that merge Arab music and Chinese music elements with jazz and classical music.

This exclusive NZ International Arts Festival appearance will also feature guest soloists: the “Bob Dylan of the Middle East” - Marcel Khalife on oud (lute), on vocals and hand percussion, Bachar Khalife and Bassam Saba on Ney (the Arabian flute).
This concert is not a political statement; it is a celebration of the rich language of music. One night only – a musical treat for all lovers of fine music and jazz.

More on Absolute Ensemble
The Absolute Ensemble was founded by Kristjan Järvi in 1993 to integrate, not segregate, categories of contemporary music. Fusing its classical roots with everything from jazz and rock to world music and hip-hop, their inventive and daring combinations of styles have won exciting attention from audiences worldwide and music press. The ensemble features classic works of pop and jazz by The Beatles, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa and John Adams, and also the more traditional type of classics by composers such as Bach, Stravinsky and Schoenberg. Guest artists with the group have included classical pianists Vladimir Feltsman and Joseph Kalichstein, and also jazz stars such as Paquito d'Rivera, Dave Taylor and Kenny Drew. The group has toured Europe, Central America and Australia, and has performed in New York at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall and Alice Tully Hall. The ensemble continues to generate new projects, including a collaboration with the late composer/musician Joe Zawinul. They have released eight albums, been nominated for a Grammy and won the German Record Prize.

More on Daniel Schnyder
Daniel Schnyder is known as a composer/performer with a dynamic reputation in both jazz and classical fields. He has recorded over 10 CDs of his own music for Enja Records, Koch Jazz, Universal, Arabesque and Red Records. As a performer Daniel has toured and recorded with many well-known classical musicians, world-music artists and jazz artists.

More on Marcel Khalife
Marcel Khalifé, the Lebanese musician and writer, UNESCO Artist for Peace studied, then taught, the oud, or Arabic lute, at the Beirut National Conservatory. He began his career as a soloist and went on to create the group“Al Mayadine” in his home village, to preserve the Arabic musical heritage with the oud.
The ensemble became an instant success in Lebanon and its reputation soon spread abroad. They went on to tour other Arab countries as well Africa, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia and Japan. The group is regularly invited to perform in internationally renowned festivals.
Mr Khalifé is also a composer of Oriental dance and film music, inspired by major, contemporary Arab poets. At the vanguard of innovative Middle-Eastern music, Khalifé’s original music makes him an ambassador of his culture. He has written several books on music.
Classical music meets jazz, free improvisation, and traditional
“Arab music in a fusion of opulent orchestra colors, rhythms, and
electronic music.”

Absolute Arabian will be performed on Thursday 6 March, 7.30pm at the Michael Fowler Centre.
Please note the Absolute Ensemble will be performing another concert on Wednesday 5 March – Absolute Mahler



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