in Reviews

An inspiring Middle Eastern heritage in a jazzy environment

by Tove Djupsjöbacka

"The music itself breathes calmly and is very free, being based more on musical discussion between the performers than on strict composition. The disc begins and ends in jazzy colours, but personally I particularly like the adventures in between, spiced with a certain modal and rhythmic curiosity."

Marouf Majidi is a versatile musician of Iranian-Kurdish origin resident in Finland for more than ten years. So far, his best-known effort is his energetic BaranBand. In his latest project MA Rouf, he rubs shoulders with jazz veteran Jouni Järvelä, combining an inspiring Middle Eastern heritage with a jazzy environment.

The music itself breathes calmly and is very free, being based more on musical discussion between the performers than on strict composition. The disc begins and ends in jazzy colours, but personally I particularly like the adventures in between, spiced with a certain modal and rhythmic curiosity. Melodies intertwine in Jouni Järvelä’s truly skilful wind instrument playing, Jukka Haavisto’s fretless bass and Majidi’s tar and tanbur. Mikko Hassinen accompanies on drums and percussion, with Majidi’s nephew Ahoora Mahone adding oriental daf percussion on top. To my taste, the keyboards added by Järvelä bring the result a little too close to traditional jazz flavours.

The marriage of instruments is very nice indeed, but I particularly enjoy the vocal tracks, above all the touching ‘Blues for Soran’, where Majidi really sings his heart out, almost recalling Dead Can Dance with their strong vocals combined with minimalistic accompaniment.

MA ROUF: The People
2019 Kanteleen ääniä AANIA-31