Inspired by an unexpectedly long trip to Egypt, the jazz guitarist’s evocative set of originals and covers spans solo showstoppers and rich ensemble work
Dahab is a Bedouin fishing village in Sinai, where British jazz guitarist Rob Luft took refuge from the pandemic after a festival appearance in Cairo left him stranded in Egypt. Unlike most pandemic creations, there is nothing forlorn about this, his third solo album on Edition. Rather, it’s a celebration of the serenity and vitality of nature, shot through with flavours from the Middle East, Africa and beyond.
A prog rock fan, Luft is an agile guitarist who can let loose pyrotechnic solos – the title track is a case in point – but he is foremost a composer and ensemble player, joined here by his core four-piece band, with the tenor sax of Joe Wright outstanding. Adding ambience on several cuts is the Amika string quartet. There are three non-originals: an acoustic take on Aphex Twin’s Flim; a lyrical take on Duke Ellington’s African Flower; and an arrangement of an Arabic love song, Lamma Bada Yatathanna, where Luft moves from an oud-like opening to unleash his inner Dave Gilmour alongside the haunting guest trumpet of Byron Wallen.
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