We always try to keep you up to date with everything happening around the globe, but let’s face it we’re kinda understaffed and underfunded, so there’s a lot of material that doesn’t reach us, particularly from European artists who don’t always think to keep us in the loop. Ibrahim Maalouf is a friend of the site and we’ve done our best to promote his music which we deem worthy, original and often-times groundbreaking. Last December, Maalouf teamed up with French rapper/poet Oxmo Puccino and released what he is calling a jazz-rock opera. The ambitious project christened Au Pays d’Alice revisits Lewis Carroll’s tales of Alice in Wonderland and creates a soundtrack to the book with original verses by Puccino for each chapter. But in order to truly push the envelope, Maalouf decided not only to blow his trumpet but also take the helm of a 30 piece orchestra and a complete children’s choir. Keep in mind this is a full five months before Kamasi Washington dropped his much heralded The Epic, yet Maalouf’s project didn’t make a single splash in the North American jazzosphere. Granted, if you are not fluent in French, some of the opera’s prose might be lost in translation, yet I believe it is not uncommon for opera lovers to enjoy work in a language foreign to them. So if you feel a little adventurous, here’s a live performance of the project which we believe is truly worth your time in addition to a trippy video clip for the single “La Porte Bonheur”. If you are so inclined, the full album is also available to stream on Maalouf’s YouTube channel.
Sébastien Hélary co-founded Nextbop in 2009 with the objective of introducing modern jazz music to a younger generation of fans. Aside from music, his other main obsession is food, particularly ramen and other Japanese delicacies.