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Friday, December 14, 2007

Ibrahim Maalouf - Diasporas (Discograph, 2007) **½

If a master trumpeter like Ibrahim Maalouf releases his first CD, you expect fireworks, yet unfortunately the opposite is true. French-Lebanese Maalouf grew up in a musical family, with his father a famous trumpeter and the inventor of the quartertone trumpet, suited to play traditional Arabic music, his mother a pianist. He's the winner of 15 classical music awards for his trumpet playing. He worked three years on this album, with over 30 musicians, and recorded in Paris and Beirut, mixed it in Montréal and mastered it in New York. And the result is a disappointment. True, his trumpet playing is fabulous, but the music isn't. It often falls into the deep abyss of cheap sentimentalism, electronic and ambient flotsam, horrible sounding electronic drums, mixing lots of influences into one style, but the mix doesn't take, turning into a kind of Erik Truffaz with a middle-eastern tinge. The best parts are the ones which are pure improvisation without any additions, showing what we could have had, if the guys in the studio had only shown some more discipline and restraint ... and the worst thing is : underneath it all, there is some beauty hidden, covered in layers of commercial rubbish which are impossible to scrape off. That makes the dissapointment even bigger.

What you don't get on this CD, is the kind of music which you can see on this video-clip with Ibrahim Maalouf.

Click here for a ater review of Nassim Maalouf's solo trumpet CD.


Anonymous said...


sorry but this recording is everything but what you just explained !! Im amazed that in such a website we can still be so far to understand that there is something else than "swing" !!

This is PURE oriental-electronic-kind of jazz, don't even try to consider it to be JAZZ: IT'S NOT

You simply can't figure out what a PRAYER is ?
can you think of some spirituality.. ??? i dont think.

This music is MADE FOR PRAYING, nothing else

this music is wonderful. It's a pure beauty.. I'm so sorry that some people like you can spend energy in writing all this rubbish about so great music.

Go listen to it more, and get back her in months..after you understood what you'd never be able nor to understand, nor to do..

Everyone reading this: RUN BUY THIS AMAZING ALBUM

This guy is a future legend

Stef said...

Thanks Dolly for your reaction. Everybody is allowed to like what he or she wants. In the end listening to music is just a personal and subjective experience. I think that Ibrahim Maalouf can do much more than the music on this CD. I hope with you that he will become a future legend. He has all the talents for it, but he should not compromise his music. If it's a prayer indeed, the artist should be naked. Here he's dressed up to seduce, for commercial reasons. That's what I meant by my last comment. His music should be real, authentic, not hidden behind layers of electronic glitter.

Anonymous said...

well, excuse me

commercial? i agree with dolly, its kind of pathetic that people like you spend their time and energy on criticizing this music.. in fact i find it pathetic that people like you have the right to say anything at all.. and even worse.. you did not just say "what you think of music as a personal matter" you specifically insulted the album and the artist with no right to do so.
so excuse me, but next time you decide to criticize a piece of art.. ask for an advice from and older person.. and NEVER EVER INSULT AN ARTIST OR AN ART WORK... WHATEVER YOUR REASONS ARE FOR NOT BEING ABLE TO ACCEPT SUCH GREAT MUSIC.. ITS NOT OUR PROBLEM TO READ THIS NONE-SENSE.

thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi everyone,

I was passing by this blog few days ago, and i was curious to see who is that IBRAHIM MAALOUF you were all talking about. So i went to buy the album.

what a huge surprise.

Indeed it's not pure jazz..and indeed Ibrahim Maalouf could do more technical or modern or "intelligent" kind of music, this album is just AMAZING !!

I've just never heard such music. I almost never write anything in blogs, especially not in english...(by the way, I'm sorry.. I'm French)

But honestly, i tried to see what's wrong and what's right in all your comments, and I totally agree with Dolly and Leila.

Your words are not even enough for the beauty of this music. It truely made me travel like bird over sees oceans and countries. It's more than jazz, it's more than just music.

Something strong pushes this young guy through the truth of music. I admire his style. It's between "technique" and "compromise", between "simplicity" and "complexity", between "science" and "imagination". This guy is probably a genious.

In France, all the specialists said it, even though I usually disagree with them, but this time I agree.

This guy is a future Star of trumpet.

Thanks at least for having talked about him, even if your opinion has nothing to do with mine, you made me discover it !!!


See you !


Stef said...


I'm glad you liked the album. As did Dolly and Layla. And probably many more people.

I just think Ibrahim Maalouf could do lots more with his skills. He still has to find an authentic voice. On this album, it's covered with layers of kitsch. Music, jazz or not, must be true. I don't find that here. He is a great musician, now he also has to become a great artist.

Anonymous said...

Hey Steph,

I really totally disagree with you. It's not the first time.. ;) But look, when YOU think that something is not your taste, dont say those kind of statements. It's so wrong..

just say that YOU dont understand this music, but dont say that kind of "he has to become an artist"... it's so stupid i think. It really shows that you probably have a reason to say this, that has nothing to do with his music.. what is it ?

did he play with someone you hate ?
did you meet him and he was with a very cute chick and you're jealous ??

just kidding, teasing you... but look. You are NOT right. It' a fact, i think truely that Ibrahim did a MASTER PIECE that will stay for very long in the musical world. It'll stay as a pure, original, wonderful achievement.

Nothing to do with your description.

I live in New York. Here you really see lots of guys who try to do something "different". They dont. They copy.

That's the first time since VVVVEEEERY long time, i see something TRUELY different.

So..people : go and listen, and tell steph what the reality is ;)


Anonymous said...

music and the enjoyment of it is about freedom to think, perceive, and be generous about it.
thank you warmly stef for this blog I am making it a favourite.
also to say that I had essentially the same feelings when listening to this album by Mr. Maalouf. yes he has loads of talent, and there is something within and beyond this album that catches the ear, but this is not the catalyst for me. stephane

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 2 ;)

Hey Everyone.
Stephane, i have a question. i didnt hear the music of Ibrahim Maalouf, but what do you mean by Catalyst ?

When the music talks to you, isnt it that the soul is here ??

Why to look for more complexity, if he simply touches you...

I'll go and listen, and if i feel like to, i'll come and post my opinion, whatever it is.

talk to you later !!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry all of you. I loved Ibrahim Maalouf's music. Nothign else to say. The "catalism" or "cataclism" or whatever...IS HERE. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Normally I don't reply to these blogs. But since I am a big fan of Ibrahim Maalouf, I needed to chime in. I have been anticipating these release for a long time, I love the video clips on youtube - but I too felt that the CD left me wanting more of what I was seening on you tube :-(

Anonymous said...

Youtube is his LIVE project, his albums are totally different. Something else. Another vision of music. Why do people always have to expect what they want !!!!!?

He's doing 2 maybe more different projects. That's what he does. He doesn't record in an album what he does on stage. and i think it's great.

That's what i think
thanks for listening

Anonymous said...

Ignore the review. This is a work of great sensitivity and beauty. I discover it only this week when a track was played on BBC world music programme. I will seek out more of this artists work.

Albob said...

everyone criticizes this review...but it IS a review. Yes, I like the album, but its HIS opinion. Thats the definition of a review. to say he has no right to criticize ART is to demean art altogether. I am glad that Stef had a bad review, because it shows that people still THINK. which is beautiful.

Stef said...

I am glad this post still generates comments three years after its original publication.

Keep listening with open ears and critical minds.


Anonymous said...

Desde que lo oí por primera vez hace un par de semanas este disco Diagnostic no ha dejado de sonar en mi reproductor, no soy músico así que mi referencia para decir si un álbum es bueno o malo está en si me mueve o no y este no ha dejado de hacerlo, de hecho ya se ganó un puesto en mi colección de discos favoritos, entre los que están The Köln Concert, Kind of blue, Alina, y muchísimos más pero este disco no se parece a ninguno de los oído antes aquí hay una mezcla de géneros de ritmos de etnias aquí no hay una voz hay muchas voces mezcladas, lo siento pero para mi Ibrahim esta perdonado este disco es uno de mis favoritos y altamente recomendado!!!
Hasta le escribí al manager de Arturo Sandoval porque se me ocurrió que alguna de las piezas de este disco hubieran estado de maravilla en el también fantástico disco de Arturo Trumpet Evolution alguno como: Maeva in Wonderland, Never Serious, All The Beautiful things or DIAGNOSTIC.

Anonymous said...

Having read Stef's reviews for several years I've noticed that in order for him to appreciate a record it has to include at least five minutes of itching and scratching, not much melody (that would not qualify as free-jazz) and distaste for anything that the large public considers beautiful.