One Night in Jordan

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New age pianist/composer Zade Dirani gives a good account of his musical style on this live album, recorded at an open-air concert in an ancient Roman amphitheater in his hometown of Amman, Jordan, before an audience including the country's royal family. Zade's piano is, of course, the central instrument, but he is backed by a percussive band including several ethnic instruments (Walter Rodriguez on Latin percussion, Pedro Eustache on "world woodwinds," Ramon Stagnaro on Spanish guitar, Gary Innes on accordion, Lilit Khojayan on qanoon, Nasser Salameh on Middle Eastern percussion), plus the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Voices Choir. They make a familiar quasi-classical contemporary instrumental sound, in the tradition of Yanni and Vangelis. Zade likes to give suggestions of ethnic styles, including, for example, the Middle Eastern feel in the leadoff tune, "Zaina," the Spanish lilt of "Santiago's Dream," and the self-explanatory "Tango," but the basic approach is a melodic pop-classical sound with no national borders. Violinists Charlie Bisharat and Karen Briggs turn up here and there for some spirited playing, and singer Jana performs "Comes to an End." The choir spends most of the time mouthing wordless aahs and oohs, but gets its own spotlight in a version of Jacques Brel's "If We Only Have Love." Zade's stage remarks reflect his commitment to peace and human understanding, particularly with regard to the Middle East (the album is subtitled "A Concert for Peace"), which are welcome, if necessarily vague.

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