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Basic LINE-UP: Matthew Montfort - Scalloped fretboard guitar Pandit Khabib Khan - Sitar Irina Mikhailova - vocals Georges Lammam - Arabic violin Antoine Lammam - Arabic percussion instruments With: Qi-Chao & Hui - Chinese flute & harp (respectively) Slavic Choir Dancers: Saphira & Estara Arabic Quartet Benjy Wertheimer - Esraj And others...
Preamble. The "Planet Jammin'" video is dedicated to the 25th Anniversary of World-Fusion, which was invented by the founder of Ancient Future, Matthew Montfort, in 1978. To read the review of Ancient Future's latest studio album, click > here. Note: as well as Sitar, Esraj (see line-up) is also the Indian string instrument. If you wish to learn more of such a specific instrument as Esraj, click > here.
The Album. "Planet Jammin'" presents extracts from the varied Ancient Future shows alternating with Matthew's narrative of ensemble's history and the World Fusion style. Ancient Future is currently a large organization of musicians consisting of a few different ensembles, though most, if not all, of them feature composer Matthew Montfort playing his famous hand-made scalloped fretboard guitar. The masterful solos of this unique guitar are at the forefront of arrangements even on those compositions that feature also such distinctive and virtuosi soloing performers as Pandit Khabib Khan (on Sitar) and Georges Lammam (on Arabic violin). All compositions performed by this remarkable trio along with a few of the other musicians represent nothing else but a highly innovative International Classical Music. To be precise, this is a unique blend of European, Indian, and Arabic Classical Music with elements of Jazz-Fusion. Apart from Matthew with his irreplaceable scalloped fretboard guitar and Antoine Lammam on percussion, Slavic Choir with African 'groove' features Irina Mikhailova, singing in Old Russian, and a few more female vocalists doing most of the backing vocals. All of this represents simply an unbelievable musical cocktail. Saphira and Estara dance to the accompaniment of Eastern Classical Music performing by Arabic Quartet. In the case of Saphira though, this is kind of an eastern ballet rather than something else, and the astonishing solos of Mathhew's guitar are here wonderfully interwoven in basic symphonic textures crafted by passages of violins. The performance of Chinese 'division' of Ancient Future, consisting of flautist Liu Qi-Chao and a (female) harp player, was both distinctive and impressive as well. Finally, Matthew has presented his book titled "ANCIENT traditions - FUTURE possibilities", which should be an essential reading for anyone who is interested in the creation of his unique band in particular and the development of the World Fusion movement in general.
Summary. The Ancient Future show is incredibly colorful, very beautiful, and candidly warm: I am just charmed with it. The creation of Ancient Future is undoubtedly one of the most original and interesting today. And by the way, the band's previous effort, "Planet Passion", has successfully passed the tests of time and, thus, is a real classic for the future: I am still listening to it and with great pleasure.
VM: April 26, 2003
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