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Album Review

Ragab, Salah & The Cairo Jazz Band – “Present Egyptian Jazz ” – [Art Yard]

ArtCrimes   11/27/2007   12-inch, International

Salah Ragab and the Cairo Jazz Band Present Egyptian Jazz
full length LP

In 1968, drummer and pianist Salah Ragab was in the unusual position of leading the Egyptian Military Music Dept. with the help of jazz charts brought in from Europe, and a round the clock rehearsal schedule, he formed Egypt’s first jazz big band with a group of 25 musicians. These tracks date from 1968 to 1973. Although they aren’t exactly masters of the improvised side of jazz, the arrangements here do take advantage of traditional Egyptian instruments such as the nay (flute) and baza (Ramadan drum), which give the band a distinct sound. The compositions here are mostly very tightly arranged and rhythmically varied, using 4/4, 6/8 and 7/8 rhythms.

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