Sahib Shihab – Sahib’s Jazz Party
In a time before jazz music went free and ‘avant-garde’ there were a couple of inspired souls who put an emphasize on extended jams and improvised yet melodic parts based on a rather repetitive rhythm background. The result in turning away from the rather artistic and complicated bebop was the modal jazz that came up in the second half of the 1950s and lasted as the leading style until the mid to late 60s when bands either became free avant garde or discovered rock music to boost up their sound. Sahib Shihab can be seen as one of the protagonists of modal jazz despite being more of an underground star in the scene and even more popular in Europe than in the USA from where he originates. He often worked as a member of an ensemble but had a couple of albums out as a bandleader as well of which this particular one – released in 1964 – is his third and original copies in good condition already go for 600,00 Euros. Recorded live in its entirety „Sahib’s jazz party“ does not only let us become part of the whole musical experience that evening in 1963 when the album has been recorded but features a few highly entertaining announcements by the master himself leaving you with the impression Mr. Sahib was a bit far out that day. The performance is beautiful and passionate. He plays flute and saxophone backed up by a Danish jazz orchestra even with an electric guitar in clean mode of course. Especially in the third part of the „Conversation“ piece the dialogues between saxophone and trumpet are amazing while in „Charade“ he takes his flute and conjures a mind relaxing atmosphere. The rhythms are all quite hot and whipping. The drummers must be some kind of madmen. Yes, there are two drummers indicated for the „Conversation“ long track and the ever pulsating and vibrating rhythm patterns will prove that right. Bass and guitar rather back up everything and fill the soundgaps with simple notes which add just enough to the whole picture that it feels full and round. The more relaxed sections of this album will completely enchant and even lull you but there is always some exciting break out into a highly energetic passage setting your soul on fire. The structure is always perceptible but the bandmembers love to play all around the basic pattern. The rhythm section knows to lay down some hypnotizing lines and grooves while the horns and flute blow some haunting notes on top which tell you to let loose and become part of this maelstrom of sounds. This record holds the same level as the most appreciated works of Miles Davis and John Coltrane during their modal jazz stint. All in all the whole band is steaming and so full of passion you will be electrified without fall. An album like this can be seen as a major influence on later progressive and psychedelic rock acts. Anyway, if you love the modal jazz style you have to grab your copy of this new reissue.