An evocative new project where Sufi influenced music of North Africa joins with funk and jazz. Byron was nominated for both 'Best Band' and 'Best Album' at the BBC jazz awards 2007 and MOBO Category 'Best Jazz Act' for this album.
`Meeting Ground' is the musical manifestation of a place where the spirit and soul of a people join together to celebrate life. The music follows the history of the Gnawa, a Sufi brotherhood from Morocco. It has a traditional singing quality to it, providing an experience that is both enchanting and vibrantly uplifting.
Highlights of the album are `Exaltation', a duet between Byron on trumpet and Boujemma Bouboul on voice and guimbri (a three stringed bass lute); `Zawiya' sees the complete integration of jazz and traditional Gnawa rhythms; and `Sailor of the Sands' chronicles the sub-Saharan routes to Hip Hop.
Personnel: Byron Wallen - (trumpet, shells, samples, percussion), Boujemaa Bouboul - (vocals, guimbri, percussion), Tony Kofi - baritone and soprano saxophone), Larry Bartley - (bass), Tom Skinner - (drums).
Byron Wallen is one of the most innovative, exciting and original trumpet players alive. `Meeting Ground' is his first release in five years and represents a significant landmark in his kaleidoscopic career. It follows his prize winning Indigo album which received the 2002 BBC Innovation Award.
'The exchange of ideas and sounds makes for a subtle and unusual world-jazz collaboration.' (John L Walters - The Guardian)
Here is a review from a customer who bought the album.
'If you enjoyed the Indigo album this is of a similar ilk, but dare I say a little richer in some quarters. The fundamental quality behind the Indigo album was the way in which it grows and grows like tree roots, becoming ever increasingly deeper the more they are exposed to the sunlight of your eyes. Meeting Ground is no different here. Meeting Ground has the additional quality of African musicians contributing to the original quartet. The voice of Boujemma Bouboul grabs hold of a part of Africa and brings it to the listeners' ears and minds.
Wallen's ability to create truly deep music is established beyond doubt on this album. It reflects the variety he displays in his trumpeting and his use of other horns as well as shells.
I was lucky enough to catch them play live so I know these aren't the result of just studio trickery.
Wallen is a very gifted composer and trumpeter and what I like about this album is how he has fused African music and Jazz and managed to do so with incredible sincerity.'