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Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem / Jazz Weekly review

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Mediterranean and Byzantine sounds float from this album produced by oud player Dhafer Youssef. He teams up and mixes and matches moods with clarinetist Hüsnü Şenlendirici, Aytac Dogan's kanun (similar to a zither), Eivind Aarset/g, Nil Petter Molvaer/tp, Kristjan Randalu/p, Phil Donkin/b and Chander Sardjoe/dr. Gentle jazz tunes such as "Sevdah" are the exception rather than the rule here, as much of the music is monastic and almost liturgical. The four pieces of "Birds Requieum" feature clarinet, piano, oud and passioned throaty voices that are delivered in mourning.  Monastic and melancholy folk music from the Aegean Sea is featured on "Ascetic Mood" while "Ascetic Journey" takes you to the hills of Mount Athos with the sounds of the zither guiding you through the trails. The mood is broken on the electic rocking of "39th Gulay" but contemplation is back around the corner on ""Elegy for My Mother." Meditative and reflections of another era.