One (Ceres Records CER001, 2008)
His name is not instantly familiar, but the music of multi-instrumentalist and composer Jamshied Sharifi has graced numerous movie and television soundtracks. He’s also won some prestigious awards and taught at respected institutions of higher learning. Nonetheless, his music isn’t stuffy or highbrow despite its obvious sophistication.
There’s a lot of African and Arabic shadings to his latest album One (coming April 8th), and the disc benefits from many talented guests, particularly in the vocal department. It’s mainly the matching of voices to the densely layered facets of the music that makes the album flow unpretentiously.
The singers – Hassan Hakmoun, Sussan Deyhim, Yungchen Lhamo, Abdoulaye Diabate, Paula Cole and Vishal Vaid – bring a combination of Sufi spirit, Tibetan etherealness, Americana warmth, ghazal dexterity and Saharan grit to songs which blend sounds, textures and rhythms that synthesizers play a role in but are comprised mainly of acoustic stringed, percussion and wind instruments.
Call it fusion, call it new age, call it borderline classical. Or better yet, get the CD, listen intently and enjoy immensely. From the entwined intricacy of the title track to the recurring wordless vocal passages to the angelic tones of the 9/11 tribute "Requiem," it’s a marvel.
Author: Tom Orr
Tom Orr is a California-based writer whose talent and mental stability are of an equally questionable nature. His hobbies include ignoring trends, striking dramatic poses in front of his ever-tolerant wife and watching helplessly as his kids surpass him in all desirable traits.