Noon in Tunisia

George Gruntz

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Noon in Tunisia Review

by Ken Dryden

George Gruntz organized this studio recording as an opportunity for blending the worlds of jazz and Arabian music, though utilizing original music of his own. With Sahib Shihab (soprano sax, flute, and tambourine), violinist Jean-Luc Ponty, bassist Eberhard Weber, and drummer Daniel Humair, plus four Bedouin musicians playing traditional Arabian reed, string, and percussion instruments, Gruntz conceived the nearly 31-minute six-part "Maghreb Cantata" as the centerpiece of the date. The composer's themes are essentially brief modal statements utilized as jumping-off points for the musicians' improvisations. Bracketing the suite are two vocal numbers that incorporate the chanting of centuries-old Arab poems. Open-minded jazz fans will find this unusual session both intriguing and infectious. Issued by Saba and long out of print, this disc was finally reissued on CD by Universal in Japan, complete with the original liner notes and photos in a mini-LP format.

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