Attab Haddad Quintet
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Attab Haddad Quintet

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE

London, England, United Kingdom | INDIE
Band World Jazz


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Attab Haddad Quintet @ Southbank Centre -PURCELL ROOM

City Of London, None, United Kingdom

City Of London, None, United Kingdom

Attab Haddad Quintet @ The Forge

London, None, United Kingdom

London, None, United Kingdom

Attab Haddad Quintet @ The Forge

London, None, United Kingdom

London, None, United Kingdom



Central to Middle Eastern music, the lute-like oud has become increasingly popular in world fusion. On this brilliantly realised debut, London-based Attab Haddad gives a masterclass in the instrument's possibilities, drawing from Arabic forms while lacing his compositions with flamenco, jazz and classical flavours. The mood shifts easily from contemplative pieces such as "Looking at the Wind" to tumbling excursions such as "Oh Georgina" and the Andalucian flourish of "Por Tangos". There's inspired accompaniment from flute, violin and, particularly, Naomi Wright's cello, while pianist Kit Downes guests on the clever (and ticking) "Clock". A lovely ensemble piece, with a virtuso at its heart.

29/01/12, Neil Spencer, The Observer - The Guardian

It is rare to find a musician who, on his debut recording, is already confirming his stature as one of best ones in his field. London-based/Iraqi-descended oudist Attab Haddad is such a musician, honing his knowledge of the traditional Arabic legacy with oud masters including Iraqi Ahmed Mukhtar and Egyptians Nihad El-Sayed and Nasseer Shamma. He is also a member of violinist Sabina Rakcheyeva's neo-classical ensemble and a founding member of the flamenco-Arabic-Indian group Alcazaba.

But it is his innovative new attitude to the oud that marks him along other great contemporary players such as Anouar Brahem and Rahim Al-Haj, Haddad's complete mastery of the instrument—with a poetic personal musical language and natural sense of openness— organically placing it into new genres such as chamber jazz, flamenco and contemporary music. This comes together with strong and fresh compositions, wise arrangements that leave enough room for all the melodies to blossom, and the wisdom to find the right musicians to enhance Haddad's vibrant musical vision.

This recording features Haddad's quintet, augmented with many guest players. Haddad begins "Awakening" with a beautiful solo that patiently introduces his tight and passionate ensemble, while ornamenting and wisely nurturing his flowing musical ideas. Even though the music relies on an Arabic scales, it has its own sense of swing and new music courtesy of cellist Naomi Wright's exquisite playing. On "Looking at the Wind" and "Por Que? No Se!," Haddad's poetic playing lightly references flamenco music while introducing the theme, and later through the gentle interplay with Wright and flutist Philippe Barnes. The title piece—in both its studio recording and longer live version—is full of drama, adventure and humor, and displays Haddad's skills as a sensitive storyteller in full control of this elaborate tale's ingredients and its progression.

Together with Alcazaba partner, flamenco guitarist Ramon Ruiz, Haddad presents an enchanting playful melody on "Por Tangos," with leisurely yet virtuosic playing. Later, the ensemble revisits Haddad's Alcazaba composition, "Aire Del Oud," with joyful passion. Based on Turkish traditionalism, "Longa-esque" provides an excellent opportunity for Haddad and his ensemble to bridge the original's sophistication with an update of bold rhythmic ideas. Two friends from Rakcheyeva's ensemble—the uniquely expressive leader and pianist Kit Downes— guest on Haddad's "Clock," originally written for that ensemble and, here, emphasizing the timeless quality of the oudist's melodies.

2012 has only begun but Days Distinctive is already a strong contender for this year's list of best releases.

22/01/2012, Eyal Hareuveni, -


Attab Haddad Quintet - Days Distinctive - 2012



Drawing on firm roots in both Middle Eastern music and Flamenco, Haddad's compositions take the listener on an instrumental journey through Andalusia and the Middle East, conveying a sonic experience that can only be described as his own.

Haddad’s work has featured on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 6, BBC Radio Scotland, SOAS Radio and Resonance FM as well as on various Middle Eastern and Turkish TV Channels and he has performed in the UK, Europe, USA, Middle East and India to much acclaim. In April 2010 he was the subject of an hour long documentary on Arabic TV Channel AL-Fayhaa that highlighted his innovative new approach to the oud.

In 2008 he founded the Attab Haddad Quintet which plays his own compositions drawing on Middle Eastern music, Flamenco, Jazz and contemporary composed music creating a sound that is unique to the band. With some of the UK’s finest musicians in their respective fields, Haddad’s ensemble includes Flautist Philippe Barnes, Cellist Ben Davis, Double Bassist Matt Ridley, and Percussionist Vasilis Sarikis.The Quintet has been very well received and has appeared live on BBC Radio as well as playing at some of London’s finest venues including Cadogan Hall and The Forge where they closed the London Jazz Festival in 2011. They released their first CD ‘Days Distinctive’ in January 2012 on London/ Berlin based Weave Records to critical acclaim.

‘Days Distinctive’ was written and produced by Haddad. With a strong desire to show the Oud’s versatility outside its traditional role, he casts his players across a diverse musical landscape including Flamenco, Jazz, Middle Eastern and Contemporary music, combining these naturally as a natural evolution of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern instrumental music.

Aside of performances with the Quintet, Attab performs solo and has collaborated with many artists in many genres (Juan Martin, Cerys Matthews, Max Baillie, John Metcalfe, Eugene Skeef, Clara Sanabras, Ramon Ruiz, to name a few) as co-composer, producer, musician and session player and featured as a guest on various albums. He is a key member of the contemporary and Classical crossover group The Sabina Rakcheyeva Ensemble, as well as being a founding member of the Flamenco fusion band Alcazaba. Attab has also worked within the spheres of dance, television and film, writing the scores for The Jean Abreau Dance Co’s show Equus and co-writing Dialogo with violinist Max Baillie. Haddad's film and TV credits include session work on Paul Gladstone-Reid's music for Isaac Julien's Phantom Creole, numerous collaborations with TV composer David Lowe, and session work on James Newton Howard's music for Ed Zwick's film, Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Jennifer Connelly, as well as various documentaries and TV programmes. He has also written library music for Universal Publishing and continues to work as a composer for corporate ad campaigns and short films.