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Rabih Abou-Khalil

Prog Folk

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Rabih Abou-Khalil Blue Camel album cover
4.27 | 28 ratings | 3 reviews | 39% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Studio Album, released in 1992

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Sahara (8:18)
2. Tsarka (6:45)
3. Ziriab (6:49)
4. Blue Camel (8:20)
5. On Time (6:19)
6. A Night in the Mountains (8:37)

Bonus tracks on 1992 CD release:
7. Rabou-abou-kabou (4:47)
8. Beirut (10:52)

Total time: 60:47

Line-up / Musicians

- Rabih Abou-Khalil / oud, composer & producer

- Charlie Mariano / alto sax
- Kenny Wheeler / flugelhorn, trumpet
- Steve Swallow / bass
- Milton Cardona / congas
- Nabil Khaiat / frame drums
- Ramesh Shotham / South Indian drums, percussion

Releases information

Artwork: Georges Ghantous

LP Enja Records ‎- ENJ-7053 1 (1992, Germany)

CD Enja Records ‎- ENJ-7053 2 (1992, Germany) With 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ClemofNazareth for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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RABIH ABOU-KHALIL Blue Camel ratings distribution

(28 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(39%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(39%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RABIH ABOU-KHALIL Blue Camel reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Seyo
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Although the classification of Abou-Khalil's music as progressive folk may be misleading, since it is far more close to jazz, it is equally wrong to take it under the jazz-rock/fusion banner for the simple reason: it is lacking the rock element!

However, such an eclectic mix of jazz and the mid-eastern folk traditions (improvised soli on trumpet, bass and oud-lute and varied percussive and dynamic patterns) can be even called Global Jazz Music in order to avoid misinterpretation of the overused World Music tag. What is more important than the genre label is the beautiful music that is equally atmospheric, ambient-oriented and creatively produced as a top quality contemporary jazz act.

Jazz music has long outgrowth its American roots of the Southern Black communities and developed throughout the 20th century spreading across the Globe and incorporating many local, indigenous folk traditions from all regions. Blue Camel is one of the masterpieces of that kind of musical creativity, which will certainly be cherished by the fans of progressive rock, particularly those favouring not only prog folk but also jazz rock, psychedelic and the so-called oriental sub-section of Krautrock (e.g. EMBRYO).

What is maybe even more important is that Rabih Abou-Khalil is the authentic artist, native of Middle East, who is able to adopt some of the Western tenets of jazz production and technique, much like the earlier Western prog rock musicians (from the classic pshychedelic/prog era of late 1960s) were able to enrich their music with many oriental ingredients.


P.A. RATING: 5/5

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
3 stars This is a unique album in my collection in that it's part of the small but growing "world" music grouping. Indeed, it's quite inaccurate that this album is labeled under prog-folk as it is really a fusion of jazz and Arabic music. The album, all instrumental, blends Rabih Abou-Khalil's oud playing with saxophone and trumpet to create launch pads for extended jamming based around exotic modes.

Much of the music is very open and atmospheric though certain tracks like "Rabou-Abou-Kabou" are more lively. In terms of song structure, it's similar to albums like Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue", in that a basic 8 or 16 bar phrase will be repeated a couple of times in between elongated solo sections. The caliber of musicianship is high; all the players are highly talented and the solos are a good indication of it. The only problem I have with "Blue Camel" is that the Middle Eastern harmonies, while not being too atonal, are difficult to listen to for too long; after an hour of hearing similar sounding scales being used over and over and without a moving chordal accompaniment but instead a percussion section which adds to the volume more than adding to the beat, the soloing can become quite tedious.

This album would be highly recommended for any fans of Arabic music or very spacey, open jazz but for the average prog listener you probably won't gain very much from "Blue Camel".

Review by Warthur
5 stars Bridging the gap between the folk music of his Lebanon homeland and modern jazz, Rabih Abou-Khalil crafts on Blue Kamel a distinctive atmosphere, that fuses the two major styles of music involved with admirable seamlessness. The end result is a moody, evocative set of songs which in moment evokes smoke-filled speakeasies and the next smoke- filled hookah lounges. Exactly what the camel is so blue about, we can't tell, but there's a melancholy aura hovering over the whole thing which is established and maintained masterfully. With a backing group drawing equally on Western and Arabic musicians, the album offers a boundary-shattering cultural blend which deserves to be celebrated.

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