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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Richard Khuzami

By Robert Kaye
Published March 20, 2007


Richard Khuzami’s name may not be that familiar to most world music heads, but his track record’s certainly impressive: among other things, he assisted in the production of the opening music for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, with Mickey Hart and Philip Glass, and worked on the production of Philip Glass’s “Powaqqatsi” concert in Prospect Park, Brooklyn. A talented percussionist, Khuzami specializes in instruments hailing from North Africa, the Middle East, Anatolia and the Balkans. Just listening to the first few seconds of the CD’s opening track, “Bazaar Bop,” you’ll quickly realize you’re hearing a showcase for truly impressive talent with vision. Utilizing many guest musicians and several vocalists, the album incorporates many genres, including rap, reggae and pop, “fused” to a strong backbone of Middle Eastern music. Some of the English vocal arrangements may not be everyone’s slice of McDonald’s baklava, but the instrumental playing, particularly Khazumi’s, is first-rate.