East meets West with an enlivening and entertaining form factor, thanks to Palestinian buzuq performer Tareq Abboushi and Shusmo. In effect, the New York-based quintet diminishes any preconceived form of mystery and places more emphasis on intrigue. It's a union that combines Middle Eastern traditional music with various forms of Western modalities.
The buzuk is a long-necked fretted lute and similar to the Greek bouzouki. Abboushi is undoubtedly an expert who incorporates jazz phrasings into his craft, to parallel the ethnocentricities of his homeland. He states: "What I'm working towards is an alternative Arab music." Hence, the band conveys jubilance amid the synergistic interplay and translucent fusion of disparate art forms.
On "Georgina + 2," the multifarious aspects of the program come to light in comprehensive fashion. With Dave Phillips' pumping bass ostinato and the Latin jazz percussion vamp, Abboushi turns in a lyrically resplendent thematic offering via fluid single note licks and brisk unison choruses with clarinetist Lefteris Bournias. Indeed, an interesting combination nestled within the open-world schematic. Here, Abboushi raises the pitch with meticulous thematic construction and a soaring impetus, followed by a perky Afro-Cuban percussion solo spot by Zafer Tawil and Hector Morales.
Shusmo combines a hearty artistic barometer with clever arrangements and an enduring musicality that aggregates numerous genre-busting persuasions. The album is much more than a novelty item or enigma that merely intimates an experimental approach. It's a flourishing musical space, where all the moving parts snug tightly together like the proverbial, finely tuned machine.