Album Remarks & Appraisals:
"Hossam Ramzy is the Egyptian percussionist who rock stars call when their tracks need spicing up" -Songlines In celebration of ARC Music's 35 years of dedication to world music, Hossam Ramzy presents Rock the Tabla. This explosive musical journey brings together musical genius from all corners of the globe. On this album, Ramzy collaborates with world-renowned artists including Oscar winner & Slumdog Millionaire composer A.R. Rahman, famed percussionist & drummer Billy Cobham, acclaimed world percussionist Manu Katché, and celebrated Turkish flautist Omar Faruk Tekbilek. Master Percussionist Hossam Ramzy's strident, precise, and unique style has been featured in recordings and live performances by Peter Gabriel, Jimmy Page and Robert Plant, Cheb Khaled, Rachid Taha, Faudel, and more. In 1987 he recorded his first solo album, which was his first break from his successful career as one of the most sought-after session percussionists of his generation. Ramzy made the decision to look deeply at his own musical roots. This was the beginning of an artistic conversation that has given the world some of the most inspired Egyptian and Arabian beats ever recorded. This latest CD release is another chance for Ramzy to express his love of music and continue his worldwide role as The Egyptian Rhythm Ambassador.
JazzTimes (p.61) - "A true world-music project, this gathering incorporates percussionist Hossam Ramzy with Indian keyboardist composer A.R. Rahman, Turkey's double-reed virtuoso Omar Faruk Tekbilek, French drummer Manu Katche and the great drummer Billy Cobham."
Liner Note Authors: Diz Heller; Hossam Ramzy.
Recording information: Drumzy Studios, West Sussex; Expandibubble Studios, East Sussex; Panchathan Record Inn/AM Studios, Chennai; Real World Studios, Chippenham, UK; Studio Piccolo; Wave Studios, Cairo.
Photographers: André Elbing; Samantha Wordie; Rey Alvarado; Pierre Emile Bertona; Xavier Hallauer.
Translators: Diz Heller; Jeannine Blanpain.
After countless albums under his own name and guesting on other people's, the Egyptian percussionist comes out with something very high profile indeed. With people like jazz drummer Billy Cobham, Bollywood composer A. R. Rahman, and Turkey's Omar Tekbilek on board, it couldn't be anything less than stellar, and Ramzy has pulled out all the stops here. Although Egypt is at the core of everything, Rock the Tabla glides musically into many corners of the world, as on "Cairo to India," which brings two countries together quite naturally (as does the bonus cut, "This Could Lead to Dancing," which goes out on a glorious swirl of strings). In between, there's some stellar jazz-inflected material in "Six Teens," where Cobham offers a reminder of why he's so lauded, a pair of percussion duets (Egypt meets Japanese taiko drums and Egypt goes to Mali), and some Maghrebi pop on "Sawagy." The true highlight, however, is the title track, one of the best pieces of Arab rock to ever come out of a pair of speakers, with Tekbilek bringing the mizmar and a carefully unnamed guitarist who sounds suspiciously like a '70s icon (Ramzy worked on Page & Plant's Unledded), giving the tune some hard electric lines that really power it, and which might just be Ramzy's best composition to date. Unsurprisingly, all the percussion is mixed high, but not at the expense of everything else, and listening to the players is like attending a master class in musicality. It's certainly Ramzy's most inspired release in years. He's working with people he admires and who push him hard. The joy is hearing him -- and everyone else -- deliver. ~ Chris Nickson
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