Ziad Rahbani – Abu Ali [Lebanon]

We like to think that Ziad Rahbani, Lebanese composer and playwright, once stumbled across a Genie Lamp and one of his three wishes was, to one day compose a masterpiece that fused Western jazz and funk sounds with authentic Eastern melodies. Unlikely, you’re probably thinking. Nevertheless, in 1978 amidst the harsh Lebanese Civil War, Ziad travelled with his orchestra to Greece to record and press the magical “Abu Ali” with local drummers and guitarists. Ziad didn’t shy away from adding a sobering and truthful dimension to the finger-clicking groove of the first half of the track; the Middle Eastern flute (ney) cries out occasionally, reminding us of the pain and brutality subjected to Lebanon. The keys, synth, and sax combined with the bass guitar and buzuq really inject the jazz and funk into this joyful, political and innovative piece.