Wajdi Cherif
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Wajdi Cherif

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The best kept secret in music


"Phrygian Istikhbar by wajdi cherif: Acoustic tunisian jazz"

"Tunisian pianist Wajdi Cherif with his CD EP Phrygian Istikhbar, while retaining the flavour of his native country's music, places more emphasis on the jazz tradition, resulting in a fresh new sound that brings a different slant to the concept of world music"

"On the short programme of Phrygian Istikhbar, Cherif covers a lot of territory. From the romantic solo piece "Tunis by Night" to the bendir-driven title track to the Bill Evans-informed, lightly-swinging "Waiting for Paris", Cherif shows himself to be a diverse and interesting composer and performer". John Kelman (www.ejazznews.com). - www.ejazznews.com

"Phrygian Istikhbar by wajdi cherif: Acoustic tunisian jazz"

"I like fusions and mixing genres and have to say it didn't disappoint. Cherif is a young pianist and composer who has a clear vision of how he can merge the melodies and rhythms of Tunisia with the verve of a jazz quartet". Paul Donnelly (www.jazzreview.com)
- www.jazzreview.com

"Phrygian istikhbar: un Istikhbar jazzy"

"Intéressante nouveauté dans le paysage musical et artistique dans nos contrées"
"Chaque composition se base, au départ, sur un style ou des notes typiquement tunisiens pour voguer, par la suite, dans des harmonies chargées d’imagination et de sensibilité propres à Wajdi Chérif"

"Jazz à Tunis"

"Le mariage entre le piano et les percussions s'est déroulé parallèlement à un métissage impressionnant entre les rythmes orientaux et les rythmes occidentaux talentueusement interprétés par Wajdi Cherif."

"Majazz 2003: ethnoacoustic trio"

"Dans Voyage, titre de son premier morceau, le musicien Wajdi Chérif nous fait d'emblée pénétrer dans son univers musical très riche basé sur la recherche et l'innovation." L'EXPRESSION 2003 - L'EXPRESSION 2003

"Jazz: nouvelle génération"

"Un mélodique composite, le goût des échos surprenant...Un phrasé personnel qui le promut au rang des instrumentistes confirmés et des compositeurs de talent."
LE TEMPS 2001 - LE TEMPS 2001


- 2002 : " Phrygian Istikhbar " a CD funded by the Ministry of Culture In Tunisia and produced by Wajdi Cherif, published by Wech records and distributed by COADEX FRANCE

- 2001 : Participation as a pianist/arranger on Atef Lakhoua Band CD.
- 1999 : Participation on the CD of Tunisian Rock Band 'Sunset'.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Born in 1975 in Tunis, Tunisia, Wajdi Cherif proved to be a talented musician at an early age. He learned to play the piano by himself at the age of five by playing the Arabic melodies that were broadcasted on the local radio. As he grew up, his love for music never left him and he discovered other kinds of music which made an impact on his personal tastes and music. He graduated from The Bourguiba Institute of languages where he got a BA of English but his academic life was not to lessen his interest in music, on the contrary he made his first steps on the local stage then.

A musical career first dedicated to drama... Wajdi Cherif took part in various musical and theatrical shows in Tunisia and abroad under the tunisian stage director Fadhel AL JAZIRI, one of the outstanding figures of the Tunisian theatre working on folkloric music too.

A second step was in the world of the Tunisian modern Arabic song...The young pianist strengthened his technique as a sideman with some of the most famous Tunisian singers such as Adel Boundka, Mouhammed Ghaddab (1995) and Chokri Bou Zaien (1997-1999).

His discovery of jazz had a great impact on his musical interests and compositions later. Actually his career took a significant turn when he played in 1998 with the Tunisian jazzman and composer Faouzi CHEKILI in the Tabarka Jazz Festival (Jazz Week-end) and in the "Festival International El Jem". Wajdi Cherif participated also in the musical live radio show presented by radio presenter Donia CHEOUCH on RTCI, the Tunisian international radio entitled "Live" in which he played once again with guitar player Faouzi CHEKILI. In 1999 Wajdi Cherif played with the American singer Claudia PEREZ and the Dutch saxophone player Dick DE GRAAF during their respective visits to Tunisia. He also shared the stage with bassist Deidda DARIO (Italy), drummer Ray KACZYNSKI, saxophone player Volker SCHLOTT, acoustic bass Rudi ANGEL (Germany), French drummer Mourad BENHAMMOU, Acoustic Bass player Fabien MARCOZ, Austrian Saxophone player Sigi FINKEL and many others...His last appearance as a sideman was once more with the Tunisian Faouzi Chekili during the Scenna Jazz Festival (Palermo, Italy) in 2001. That very year, he played an opening for one of the jazz giants: Archie SHEPP in the Theatre of the town of Tunis during the "Jazz in Tunis " festival.

In the summer of 1999, the young Tunisian pianist meets one of the greatest figures of jazz in France, pianist Bernard MAURY during an audition in Paris who was to become his harmony teacher at the "Bill Evans Piano Academy". To refine his skills as a pianist, he also took various summer courses of jazz mainly at the EDIM, Manhattan School of Music and in Amsterdam Conservatory, Netherlands.

All these different theatrical and musical experiences and encounters revealed at last his abilities as a talented and versatile composer. His piano playing is undeniably open to the different trends of jazz, European classical music and of course the Arabic melodies in which he was immersed since his early childhood and which influenced his compositions deeply. Wajdi Cherif created a new jazz sound which he called "Tunisian Acoustic Jazz", a mixture of jazz, Arabic and classical music published by Wech records. His distinctive performances as a leader received critical acclaim on the Tunisian stage with his own group in such renowned venues as Le Printemps de Sousse, Les nuits de Tunis, and in the Tabarka Jazz Festival (2001), where he led many jazz workshops and master classes with prestigeous guest artists such as Paco SERY, Al Di MEOLA, Freddy RAVEL, Atef LAKHOUA etc. In 2001, Wajdi Cherif was invited by the Gothes-Institut of Tunis to play an opening for the German pianist Dieter KOHNLEIN with whom he directed a master class on jazz piano. In march 2003, He was also invited to play in Algeria with his trio " Ethnoacoustic Trio" during the Majazz festival. The trio gave the Algerian public a foretaste of his new album entitled " Phrygian Istikhbar "recorded in Paris with Diégo IMBERT(acoustic bass), Jeff BOUDREAU (drums) et Habib SAMANDI (Arabic percussion). He gave a recent concert in the Tabarka Jazz Festival 2003 featuring French bass player Fabien MARCOZ and drummer Mourad BENHAMMOU. 2003 is indefinitely a very important date for Wajdi Cherif as it corresponds to the release of his first album Phrygian Istikhbar Distributed internationally by CODAEX France.