Hossein Alizâdeh / M. Khaladj

Art of Improvisation

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An album of improvised music within the dastgah framework by a pair of virtuosos of Iranian music. Hossein Alizadeh primarily plays the tar, while Madjid Khaladj mostly plays the tombak. The vast majority of the album is played in the Rastpanjgah mode, which has something of a constancy to it, with ornamentation slowly being built upon the focal section of the scale in use. Alizadeh performs valiantly on the tar, with a light accompaniment in the background from Khaladj's zarb (tombak). After a good hour in Rastpanjgah, the duo move into a short ten minute improvisation in Bayat-e-Kord, with Alizadeh switching over to the longer necked tanbur, and Khaladj switching over to the daf frame drum. The pair of performers work admirably well together, though the tar often outdoes the tombak in volume. This is a worthwhile album for those already acquainted with the modes of Iranian music, though it may be somewhat lengthy and monotonous for newcomers. Something with more breadth and less depth might be in order for such newcomers, such as the excellent double-disc Iran volume of Rounder's Anthology of World Music.

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