Maleem Abdelah Ghania, Invocation

Chris Nickson

By Chris Nickson

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Recorded live in Morocco, this aptly titled album centers on Ghania's gimbri (also known as a sentir), some vocals and light percussion. Ghania is a virtuoso on the instrument — the equal of any jazz bassist — creating a dense, dexterous web of hypnotic riffs and improvisations. The muffled chants fade in and out on top, shifting like clouds over the music, as on the lengthy "Moulay Al Arabi," whose pace increases to near frantic by the end. "Salat Ala Nabi" adds a funky turn to its spirituality before heading back to more meditative territory for "Timba Ya Baki." It's about as stripped-down as an album can be, with often only the gimbri's mesmerizing circles of sound to be heard. It's a demanding album, but one with plenty of rewards.