Even when paying homage to the Moroccan music she grew up with, vocalist Natacha Atlas can't help but let the multicultural and modern seep in. With bossa nova, Western pop, and just a thin slice of electronica figuring into the mix, the "back to my roots" album Mish Maoul is a rich collection of music that doesn't sound decorated but natural coming from an artist who prides herself in being a musical nomad. Easy to believe a nomad's memories of her homeland would be foggy and sentimental, and easy to believe the modern nomad's soundtrack would sound something like this – only something like this because this is far and away Atlas' most personal album. Suitably, she seems totally in charge of its construction, making interesting production choices with the help of Temple of Sound, Timothy Whelan, and others. For someone who has worked with Transglobal Underground, Art of Trance, and Jah Wobble in the past, the restraint Atlas uses on the rhythmic and ritualistic "Hayati Inta" is surprising and creates an intoxicating tension with only a slight bit of electric guitar revealing this isn't a field recording.
Natacha Atlas’s new offering, Myriad Road, sees her combining creative forces once again. This time, she has worked with one of France’s most eminent jazz musicians, Ibrahim Maalouf – the highly-garlanded Lebanese-born French jazz and classical trumpeter, producer, and composer – to produce her first jazz album. “The first time I saw Natacha was in Istanbul,” says Maalouf. “We were at the same concert given by Smadj, who plays the oud, and he invited us up onstage to join him. Far from being an oriental cliché or pseudo-orientalist, the Natacha I met was a woman who was undeniably in touch with the world around us. Multicultural. Open to English-, French-, and Arabic-speaking cultures. But most of all, I recognized in Natacha a voice that’s unique. Hers is, perhaps, the only Arab voice in the West today which can truly claim to be authentic; at once contemporary and modern.”
A fabulous release by this Canadian instrumental band that blends latin, r&b, soul, film soundtracks, jazz and more into moody and infectious grooves. Bret Higgins is no stranger to Tzadik, performing on the 2014 release Zebrina and performing with Tzadik regulars like Frank London, David Buchbinder, Ben Goldberg and many others. A new take on The Meters and Booker T, this is small unit instrumental music that you will return to again and again.