Review by Bob Hill
Artist: Azhaar & Global wave
Album: Original Love
Available: Out now distributed and available for purchase from Streetsoul Records
I confess that Azhaar Saffar is a new name to me and I was unaware of both her and her work with Bristol based band Sirius B. My mind and my ears have been well and truly opened by listening to this album.
Having heard the Snowboy produced title track prior to hearing the whole album I was struck by three things; the sublime voice of Azhaar, the wonderful string arrangements on the track and Snowboy’s excellent production and how sympathetic it is to the voice and strings.
Now having listened to the whole album I can definitely state that Azhaar’s voice and those strings are consistently mesmerising throughout. As with the one Snowboy produced track the quality of the production on all tracks enhances what are the obvious strengths apparent on this collection. In addition the songwriting and lyricism are excellent indicators of someone at the top of their game just now.
Azhaar herself is a classically trained violinist (which explains why the strings are so good) but found herself listening to Miles Davis and Stephane Grapelli and taking a Jazzward direction with her music. Her live pedigree includes playing at Montreux Jazz Festival, Brecon, the Jazz Cafe and appearing with Jason Rebello and Ian Ballamy.
Boasting an international line-up of musicians including the flautist Gareth Lockrane Original Love combines elements of Brazillian, Afro-Cuban and Middle Eastern influences with enchanting melodies and a vocal style that is reminiscent, but definitely not derivative, of Astrud Gilberto, Joyce Moreno and Tammy Payne.
It’s hard to choose the stand-out tracks from ‘Original Love’ but in my subjective opinion the opening track Gypsy, the Snowboy produced title track Original Love and the Latin infused Popoyo are the dead certs to be included in the playlist for The Illicit Grooves Radio Show this coming Saturday the 21st on Starpoint Radio.
One thing is for sure, Original Love is already in the running to be one of the nominees in this year’s Illicit Grooves Radio Listeners’ Poll
You can listen to these tracks on the podcast of the show here* and when you do leave a comment below and tell us what your favourite track of the three is.
*podcast will be available at 2pm on Saturday the 21st after the live broadcast.