Dec 26, 2011

John Berberian: Ethno Jazz and Rock Dance with Middle East Music


john-berberian-oud-virtuosoIf I say Middle Eastern music, oud, psychedelic rock and jazz, do you say he must be kidding us? Of course, I am not kidding. Today I introduce very impressive world music project from John Berberian who is one of the best oud virtuosos of the world from Armenia. You will not hear only Armenian music on rock and jazz, you will hear melodies and rhythms from Middle East. Turkish and Arabic melodies dance on rock and jazz. This kind of fusion albums could be very impressive if songs and musicians consist of reputed ones. A small mistake can drive the album poor quality and sound. However, today you will get to know a perfect world music album. If you like, those kinds of East and West concept albums, you can click here to read about an ethno jazz album from a Turkish jazz ensemble Hijazz.

Let us know more about John Berberian and oud. Oud is a stringed middle east instruments shaped like lute. Its sound is clear and impressive. He is one of the main instruments of Middle East music. John Berberian from Armenia is one the most famous oud virtuosos on the world. He lives in the United States and he had some Middle East based albums recorded by reputed music producers. He performs Arabic, Armenian, and Turkish music successfully in his albums. Many of lyrics are in Turkish language. Armenian musicians are very important persons in Turkish music that there are so many Armenian composers making music in Turkey even today.

John Berberian has some albums like, Ode to an Oud (Oud Artistry of John Berberian), A Mid Eastern Odyssey. Each album is such a good albums to know more about Eastern music and Berberian’s virtuosity on the oud. He had some concept albums integrating Middle East music on Jazz and Psychedelic Rock with some American musicians. This world music concept was very fashionable in the middle of 60’s. Those three albums Expressions East (1964), Music of the Middle East (1966), and Middle Eastern Rock (1969) contain the fashionable concept but one of the most successful ones. They are very good psychedelic rock and ethno jazz oriented Middle East music albums and extremely recommended by music authorities.

johh-berberian-ethno-jazz-middle-eastern-rock-with-oudMy favorite Middle Eastern Rock released in 1969. This album recorded by John Berberian and the Rock East Ensemble with jazz-based rock guitarist Joe Back. I could say it is a real masterpiece. Sound and harmony between rock, jazz and Middle East music elements are perfect and flawless. Instrument variety is also wide. Although the oud is the major instrument in this album, other local instruments make the musicality higher with eastern instruments and elements.

There are seven perfect songs in the album. The track list of the album given with explanations below,
  • The Oud and the Fuzz is one of the best songs in the album. The song begins with eastern melodies and suddenly turns to oud rock.
  • Tranquility is a nice eastern music oriented ethno jazz song.
  • Chem-oo-Chem is an eastern rock.
  • Iron Maiden is a perfect fusion. I remember Iron Maiden the heavy metal band necessarily.
  • Flying Hye contains excellent eastern melodies, and a bit rock element.
  • 3/8 + 5/8 = 8/8 is a nice rock oriented song.
  • The Magic Ground is a perfect jazz fusion.

Finally, perfect album fuses ethno jazz and psychedelic rock elements successfully. I believe that it is a good discovery, if you have never listened to John Berberian and the Rock East Ensemble. This album really deserves your attention. Do not lose it and buy the album. You will never feel regret. Believe me!

Bye for now


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