Arabic Jazz 2
Ahmed Rabie is considered by many to be one of the best, if not the best, drummer in Egypt. He has been carrying the flag of the Fusion music for more than a decade, fighting his way through his journey of introducing this type of music to the Egyptian Audience. In addition to his enormous capability and command of his instrument, he is an artist with a vision....and a survival. I have attended a concert at the Cairo Opera house with Ahmed Rabie's new group, young talented musicians who have gathered, for the first time I assume, to present Fusion music to the Egyptian audience. The performance started with a bit of free drumming from Rabie backed up lightly from the group, from the first few bars I noticed that his technique, balance and articulation are incredible. He is getting better day after day, which is the result of talent, hard work and dedication. The first number was played and each of the members took a solo spot. Tarek the keyboard player performed a solo which was a nice solo, nevertheless it was more of Deep Purple/Progressive rock solo than Jazz/fusion. We are talking of a different type of fusion, where Rabie comes from a jazz/fusion background influenced by Dave Weckle, Dennis Chambers,Vinnie Colaiuta and other members who are obviously more of rock players The piano solos were again far away from being on the jazz field, giving the feeling of R&B /Rock feel, Shereaf the guitar players was playing few million notes as if he was in a challenge to prove that it is possible to play six million guitar notes in 8 bars, totally neglecting the fact that what he is doing on the guitar is meaningless from a musical prospective. It was a bit of confusion to identify what type of music is played here, or shall I say what different type of music the boys are fusing to form 'Fusion' music? There were very rare elements of jazz (with an exception of Rabie's playing and the rest were straight Rock and Heavy Metal musicians. A clearer vision is required for the musical direction. This would require hard work from the group to cement their sound as an entity. I remembered a phrase that said 'A band sounds as good as it's drummer', it is a real fact that was proven on this concert. With all the comments above, the band sounded energetic, and with a positive attitude, the credit goes to Ahmad Rabie twice. First for his fascinating drumming and second for his courage to take such a challenge with younger musicians, pushing them to create an output which was pleasant most of the time. The introduction of violin was one of the evenings highlight, it added a layer of texture and a melancholy mood to the piece. Again Rabie is heading towards a more dynamic and melodic approach on his drumming, which reminded me of Steve Gad. I must admit that this guy is an inspiration. Ahmad the Bass Player is very talented, solid with a nice touch, it was clear that he is coming from a rock background. With a little development, effort and more exposure to Fusion/Jazz training, a lot would be expected from him. There is one thing worth highlighting: there is a big difference between learning a scale, arpeggios, exercises on an instrument and using them in a tasteful matter!..... The above are completely two different things Both the Anoun, Violin with Rabie percussion, augmented with a rock bass groove delivered a superb feel that was my favourite part of the whole show, it delivered that sense of feeling that put a smile on my face. In summary, the whole evening was entertaining, Ahmad Rabie is getting better day after day, he is leading a bunch of talented energetic young musicians in another journey in the ocean of fusion. His efforts are highly appreciated, respected and supported by all of us. There is a positive attitude with the whole group, which is a very good sign for the future. I would anticipate that this unit would develop together as a group, and expect a lot in the near future.