Said Chraibi's art on the oud (a short-necked fretless lute) is a complex one, filled with unbelievably fast tremolos, stunning speed in his fingering, and a highly developed sense of ornamentation. Although most of the pieces on this disc are actual compositions and not merely improvisations, it takes a practiced listener to find the composition, so thoroughly does he elaborate on it (not unlike, say, the great jazz pianist Bill Evans). But Chraibi is not merely displaying empty virtuosity: His oud playing has great depth and spirit, perhaps best displayed in a piece like the second track, "Taksim Sur le Makam Awjara" (solo improvisation in Awjara mode). While Chraibi is from the Moroccan Andalusi tradition, he is obviously not tied down to his heritage, presenting pieces influenced by jazz, Ottoman, Persian, and Egyptian music and modes. However, he is not turning his back on tradition either, as he also composes in Arabic classical genres like the Samai and Longa. He is sensitively accompanied on four pieces by Adel Shams El Din on riqq (tambourine).
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AllMusic Review by Tom Chandler