Joseph Tawadros




Top photo: Lara Bohdanowicz.

Joseph Tawadros is not one to settle for regurgitating pat artistic successes. He keeps reaching for what lies beyond, and when he grasps it, truly elevated music results. You hear it here when Layth Sidiq’s violin, Scott Colley’s bass and Dan Weiss’s cymbals start swirling like leaves around Tawadros’s autumnal oud introduction to Smoke and Mirrors, which, when it settles into a theme and groove, manages that rare double act of being thrilling and desperately sad simultaneously. The fifth member of this band is David Fiuczynski, whose fretless electric guitar slips and slides and sighs and cries amid equally compelling statements by the oud and violin.

Tawadros has assembled some stunning bands in his time, but this one is as good as any of them, while creating a unique sound world. Of course the compositions and improvising are still intensely coloured by his Egyptian heritage (with the solo oud lament, Everything Is You, a highlight), but the putative lines between this and jazz have been given permission to evaporate. Hear the way Tit for Tat takes flight. A final note: Tawadros, always adept at devising titles, particularly excels with Man Plans, God Laughs. Amen.