Fifth album from the Lebanese trumpet player, and maybe his better-known – and certainly his most luxuriously packaged oeuvre, displaying photos of Joux’s multi-layered assemblage in steps, over a 36 page booklet along with a separate and a separate digibook-style disc holder, all housed in a cardboard box, almost the thickness of two jewel case CDs.
This project was commissioned from the French film library (Cinémathèque), who wanted to reissue ancient silent films from the Albatross catalogue and put them to music. This fell rather well with Maalouf, since he’d always loved the Miles/Malle association in Ascensceur Pour l’Echaffaud, and Ibrahim took the project at heart. Indeed, you’ll find in the quieter moments of this soundtrack some Miles influences, but it won’t escape you that Maalouf’s Arabic origins are often audible as well. He chose the Proie Du Vent movie from René Clair (prey of the wind), and wrote down his successive feelings while appropriating himself the images to sonically colourise. His various feelings gave their names to the 12 compositions that made up the single session recording in NYC. Three of the four musicians Maalouf chose are well-known on the NYC scene, and he added Flemish composer/arranger Frank Woeste on piano and further arrangements.
Roughly half the tracks are not too far away from what you’d find on the Miles/Malle film, soft and slow melancholic pieces, starting with the opening Doubts, Waithing, etc… Rather standard and relatively soporific. The other half of the compositions are definitely more intense and dramatic, offering a Mediterranean ambiance in between Spain and deep Arabia. Needless to say that’s where most of the interest of the album stands; Woeste’s piano often adding depth like Tyner might have done. Tracks like Suspicion, Question & Answers, and the Gypsy-esque Escitement, amongst others.
In some ways, it’s a bit sad that this luxurious boxset doesn’t feature the film that inspired the music on the CD, especially given the amount of space it takes for a single disc affair