Album Title: Glow
Performer: Dhafer Youssef | Wolfgang Muthspiel
Label: Material Records 019-2
Running time
: 49'35"

Dhafer Youssef is a great Tunisian oudist additionally endowed with a vocal range that connects a tenor with a truly hair-raising extreme falsetto. His albums Malak, Electric Sufi, Digital Prophecy and Divine Shadows can be sampled on his own website. He does not list Glow which instead appears on Austrian guitarist Wolfgang Muthspiel's Material Records label and associated site.

Fans of Mercan Dede's Su have already encountered Youssef's potent pipes on one track there. Those wanting more should step into the Glow.

From fluid free-form vocalizing over Jazzy grooves set up between tabla, drum set, bass and muted trumpet to dreamy meditations between the two main protagonists, Glow's thematic scope would be a dead ringer for the ECM label.

Nowhere near straight Jazz, Glow shares with it certain sensibilities. What in those terms would remain somewhat experimental alas is eminently listenable here (far from a given with experimental Jazz).

It's testament really to an artistic intelligence at work. It's equally content to operate along less-is-more
lines of thematic minimalism as it is to set up asymmetrical grooves between guitar, bass and drums. Those afford Youssef's explorative oud room to maneuver before Muthspiel's guitar bridges a time lapse to shift the tune into a different direction replete with solo bass workout against odd-metered percussive rumbles and trills. There are plenty of introspective opportunities where Youssef 's sinuous voice is let loose to meander broad territories in his trademark word-less style or made-up lyrics. Newcomers to the Youssef magic are well advised to begin their immersion with this album. Those who've found certain of his other exploits to insert distance from the core attraction meanwhile will consider Glow a most happy return to the square of the center. If you love exotics vocals but don't know this Tunesian, you simply don't know what you're missing...