Ibrahim Maalouf, Jean-Michel Pilc | Symphony Center | Jazz | Chicago Reader
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Ibrahim Maalouf, Jean-Michel Pilc 

When: Fri., May 15, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $24-$57
A Beirut native based in Paris, horn player Ibrahim Maalouf carries on the mastery purveyed by his father, Nassim, a player who adapted the microtonal four-valve trumpet to Arabic traditions. Ibrahim received classical training from an early age, and over the last decade he’s applied his technique to jazz, allowing his Arabic roots to shine through; his discography also reveals an almost manic curiosity for other traditions, including Balkan music, funk, and Western pop. For this rare Chicago performance he’ll focus on music from his lovely 2012 album Wind (Mi’ster), which he wrote to accompany the 1927 silent film La Proie du Vent (“The Prey in the Wind”). He admits to using Miles Davis’s score for the 1957 Louis Malle film Ascenseur pour l’Échafaud (“Elevator to the Gallows”) as inspiration, and the echoes from that distinctive soundtrack can be heard in smoldering ballads like “Doubts” and “Waiting,” in which tender lyricism is stoked by the sensitive brushwork of drummer Clarence Penn. Elsewhere the younger Maalouf displays strong contemporary sensibilities (the ballad “Certainly”) and brings in shades of Balkan brass (“Questions & Answers”). Joining him will be most of the superb players on the recording: Penn, saxophonist Mark Turner, German pianist Frank Woeste, and bassist Ira Coleman, filling in for Larry Grenadier. For a few tunes the inventive French pianist Jacky Terrasson will sit in. —Peter Margasak

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