Whenever I need a vacation from Western refrains, time signatures, and timbres, I first retreat to mid-Eastern terrain, and Ravi Shankar / Ali Akbar Khan's Raga Mishra Piloo is one of my all-time favorites because it goes through such a multiplicity of zones and frameworks with plenty of elbow room, a single composition taking up both sides of the LP it was issued on. I lost the vinyl I had of it but recently spied a cassette version at the local Salvation Army and grabbed it with the speed of light, raced home, tossed it on, and sighed in oceanic contentment. Then Wahid's new CD arrived, and I transitioned into that realm referred to as 'satori'.
Their last release, Inside Silence (here), was a marvelous excursion through Persian, Greek, and other terrains, and this one, Road Poem, so titled because it captures seven live performances up and down the west coast of America, is even better. Something about the demand to think on one's feet in a concert setting seems to have lent an added spark of creativity to the compositions, and the duo, Dimitris Mahlis (oud) and Chris Wabich (perc.) are elegantly lyrical throughout, whether treading speedy improvs or slow languid pensées, often both and with many variations on each inside a single cut.
Mahlis is truly an earthy poet of the ancient oud, and Wabich consistently creates a voluble groundwork upon which Dimitris can dance his exotic steps and dervishes. There is so much more to Wabich's percussion than one finds in 90% of all Western music. If you're hip to Neil Peart, Jon Christenson, and the far side of drum acumen, then you know whereof I speak. Road Poem is a CD for putting on while you let go of the cares of the world, getting hip to its exotic, Byzantine, and often funky coolness. And of course, all of it appears under the clever sobriquet of 'blouzo music'…which reminds me that I could use a shot or two of that divine anise liquor before I put the disc back on again. Bacchus would approve.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
Website design by David N. Pyles