Pianist/composer Zade Dirani did not take a traditional approach to developing his career, and as experience has shown, sometimes the path less traveled can be the most direct. Embarking on three years of house concerts (small, intimate performances in non-traditional venues like homes, churches, and community centers) all over the United States and averaging around 300 engagements a year is no small challenge. It did, however, win him an enormous and loyal fan base. His 2004 self-titled release subsequently made it to number eight on Billboard's new age charts. In a world where many successful artists never touch that type of validation, this debut has done quite well for the young Jordanian. Having attended both the conservatory in Jordan and musical school stateside (Berklee College of Music), Dirani has a wealth of training at his disposal. It shows through clearly on the record. Intricately arranged, with melodies that will feel both familiar and exotic to Western listeners, the subtly multi-layered sound has an enchanting quality that is not soon forgotten. Sonically rich and velvety, the production quality is top-notch for an independent release. Zade is a bold entrance to the sometimes stale world music community. This debut could be difficult to top.
by Evan C. Gutierrez