Quarter-Tone Trumpet Virtuoso Ibrahim Maalouf's Debut in LA—May 21

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Ibrahim Maalouf
Ibrahim Maalouf on his quarter-tone trumpet. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Ibrahim Maalouf, the Beirut-born, Paris-based quarter-tone jazz trumpet virtuoso, will make his LA debut at Le Lycée Français’s Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz on Thursday, May 21. Son of the great, classical Arabic quarter-tone trumpet player, Nassim Maalouf, the younger Maalouf won major classical trumpet competitions but chose not to follow in his father’s footsteps, instead pursuing his preferred studies in jazz.

The great Oum Kalthoum (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

For his U.S. tour debut, Ibrahim pays special tribute to the memory of former Egyptian diva, Oum Kalthoum, still regarded today as the greatest Arabic singer to have ever lived. To mark the 40th anniversary of her passing, he will perform his rendition of the symphonic hour-long masterpiece, Alf Leila wa Leila” or “A Thousand and One Nights,” a classic Egyptian piece made famous by Kalthoum in 1969.

Ibrahim will be joined onstage by many of the same jazz heavyweights featured on his 2012 Wind album: pianist Frank Woeste, tenor sax man Mark Turner, bassist Ira Coleman (instead of Larry Grenadier), and once again, Clarence Penn on drums. All in all, a really stellar line-up that you won’t want to miss.

Wind was based on René Clair’s 1927 film, La Proie du Vent (The Prey of the Wind), inspired by his love for Miles Davis’ moody 1957 soundtrack to Louis Malle’s l’Ascenseur Pour l’Échafaud (Lift to the Scaffold). Ibrahim has since recorded his 2013 Illusions album, along with a 2014 joint album titled, Au Pays d’Alice, together with Malian hip hop artist, Oxmo Puccino.

Due to some visa issues a couple of years ago that resulted in the cancellation of his previously scheduled tour, Ibrahim is only now making his LA debut. I’ve listened to his stuff dozens of times over and never tired of his spellbinding music. The opportunity to see him should not be missed. Click here for concert info and tickets to Ibrahim Maalouf’s May 21 performance at Théâtre Raymond Kabbaz.

“Beirut” from Ibrahim Maalouf’s Illusions. Oum Kalthoum’s “Alf Leila wa Leila.”   RP Logo