Brennan offers a unique Gnawan world music fusion where his Ornette Coleman-like alto sax is juxtaposed against percussive beats and melodic strains by village musicians from Morocco. Trap drummer Nirankar Khalsa and guinbri player M'allim Najib Sudani comprise the core group, supplemented by qarqabeb instrumentalists/vocalists Bujmaa and M'barek Sudani, Larbi Faud, Yassine Lekuni, and rhythm oudist Tola Cohia Brennan. The result is a distinctly jazz oriented, at times swinging, but mostly deeply spiritual mix of fiery music that must be heard to be fully appreciated. With the guinbri acting as a bass, the group chants and grooves its way into your heart from the opening number "Marhaba Ya Marhaba," resplendent in solid rhythmic foundation with hand clapping, clacking percussion accents, and Brennan's at times squawky alto. A kinetic but flowing "In the Tagine" is actually closer to hard bop/Morocco style, while the "Timarmalia Blues" has English lyrics about daily life and the blues people universally experience. Khalsa is on bamboo flute. A short, improvised alto/guinbri/traps swing groove discourse for "Greasin'" sets up tribal, multi-drum polyphony and Brennan's wailing sax during "T'Bal'N'Tumble," whereas counterpointed call and response is the key to "Around Sidi Hammu," buoyed by 6/8 time, a repeated sax line, and Brennan's expertly tasteful overblown harmonic technique. The altoist stands alone on "The Wind & Najib" in spaced, patiently constructed notes and phrases, while the finale "With Ma'abud Allah" consummates this partnership in English sung lyrics, quoting Joe Williams' "alright, OK, you win," then chanting again with ostinato bass tones and wood flute. This type of music doesn't take much getting used to. In fact it smacks of a universal concept, that eastern and western cultures can indeed relate to their quite similar problems and disparate cultural icons. Brennan hits a nerve at times, but mostly is in accord with his Moroccan friends on this wonderful combination of musical elements. Recommended.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos