One of Herbie Mann's more esoteric excursions, The Wailing Dervishes chases after a fusion that is extremely rare even today - jazz and the Middle East. Believe it or not, it works -- and there are no commercial or ethnic compromises. Mann does not alter his familiar flute improvisational manner one whit, and he enlists the help of an Armenian-descended oud virtuoso, Chick Ganimian, whose folk-like solos on his stringed instrument blend in with, but derive hardly anything rhythmic from, jazz. Mann's regular sidekick Roy Ayers sounds comfortable on vibes and Moulay "Ali" Hafid contributes the ethnic rhythms of his bongo-like dümbek to the percussion section. We also get a ringer in the form of bagpipes player Rufus Harley, whose guest solo on the blues "Flute Bag" is like the old saw of a dog walking on its hind legs; one applauds that it can be done at all. Recorded live, this LP is definitely worth hunting for if you want to hear something really different.
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AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell