Mustapha Skandrani – Istikhbars And Improvisations
Label: EM Records – EM1096LP Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition, Reissue, Repress Country: Japan Released: 19 Mar 2021 Genre: Jazz, Classical, Folk, World, & Country Style: Modern, Free Improvisation
WOW.. mind-blowing piano improvisations from late Algerian pianist Mustapha Skandrani originally recorded in 1965 in Paris and brought back to life and to new audiences by the always excellent EM Records. Playing on the traditional Algerian vocal pieces known as ‘Istikhbars’, Skandrani managed to fuse a totally unique amalgamation of Islamic Arabo-Andalusian folklore with a distinctly European feel (on the Piano) resulting in a trans-mediterranean cross over that reminds us that North Africa is not so far away (as Muslimgauze said!) and of all the cultural exchange that has flourished between these regions. His virtuoso-level playing ability is crystal clear, with sharp, modal presentations of each traditional istikhbar then an accompanying improvisation in its attendant mode. In honesty, the theory is welll beyond my understanding, but I’m suitably impressed and its the sort of stuff I could happily listen to ALL DAY. A charming, time-dialating discovery from the EM crew and an obvious recommendation for fans of Ethiopian outsider pianist Emahoy Tsegue Maryam Guebrou.. (Mint / New).