Diwan Of Beauty And Odd, the first album Tunisian composer, singer and oud player Dhafer Youssef has recorded with an all-American band, carries all the trademarks this exceptional artist is known for: beautiful melodies, heartfelt chanting over infectious grooves and great artistry on his instruments, as well as of all musicians performing with him. These young jazz musicians understand Dhafer's musical world perfectly, and thoroughly enjoy the music making – just listen to how perfectly trumpet player Akinmusire plays in unison with Dhafer or how pianist Aaron Parks duets with him on Fly Shadow Fly. Although the album is more rooted in jazz, his traditional Sufi chants give it a unique and touching quality.
Even in the adventurous territory of jazz, this French-Vietnamese musician stands out as a unique explorer of sounds. His new CD will surprise even those who believe themselves to be, by now, familiar with the diversity of his musical output. The first unusual fact: Most of the tracks were recorded in Lê’s living room (pardon me, his salon), and also completed à la maison using his computer. The second unusual fact: This domestic method of producing music need not conjure up the cosy, well worn realm of familial comfort, in fact Nguyên Lê leads the listener into a space that is full to the brim with warped sounds and acoustical metamorphoses.