The KERBAJ - SEHNAOUI - YASSINE – ‘A’ CD (2003), was Recorded at Ballouneh, august 25th & 26th, 2002, by Raymond Khalifeh. It was produced by the Lebanon based label La CDthèque, and is reportedly the first ever CD release of Arab free improvised music. The delicate, layered result is full of the tension and vitality of a newly formed cultural interspace. It is though, somewhat hard to find (distributed in Europe through DTBS, the Parisian improvisers collective).
The members of this groundbreaking trio, Mazen Kerbaj (saxophone and trumpet, prepared or un-prepared), Sharif Sehnaoui (electric guitar), Raed Yassin (double-bass) are pioneers of the young and burgeoning experimental and free improv scene in Beirut. Since the beginning of the decade they have gathered at small live venues such as the Rue 24 - Un Atelier d'Expression, initially the only place in Beirut to hold regular improv events.
Kerbaj, together with guitarist Sharif Sehnaoui were the first brave souls to begin organising the improvisers of Lebanon. They created the MILL association, which, as well as organizing events and recordings, curates Irtijal, an annual festival for experimental and free improvised music in Beirut, now in it’s seventh year. The festival has seen many international guests including Taku Unami Fred Van Hove, Johannes Bauer, Lê Quan Ninh, Franz Hautzinger. Yassin is also a member of Mill, and all three are closely associated with Al Maslakh (The Slaughterhouse), a Beirut experimental label run by Kebaj, where both Sehnaoui and Kebaj solo albums have been released, as well as Yassin’s recent collaboration with clarinetist Gene Coleman, The Adventures of Nabil Fawzi
Mazen Kerbaj (1975) is known not only for his heavy involvement in the improv scene, but also as a respected comic artist who publishes regularly. The trumpeter was feted around the blogosphere in 2006 for his poignant trumpet and bombs track, Starry Night, recorded during the violence – the Israeli air force is duly noted in the credits for their contribution. Kerbaj has played widely, solo and in groups, in Lebanon, Syria, France, Austria, Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, UK, and the USA.
After an early start with piano and guitar, Sharif Sehnaoui (1976) arrived in Paris in 1996 to learn jazz, and discovered improvisation. He is a member of Ivraie Improvisation Orchestra based in Instants Chavirés, and of Topophonie, an association which organises performances in public spaces. He has collaborated with with Stéphane Rives, Christine Sehnaoui, Thierry Madiot, Franz Hautzinger and Le Quan Ninh.
Raed Yassin (1979) graduated from the Beirut Fine Arts University (theater and video) in 2003. He lives and works in Beirut as a musician (double bass, radio, tapes & electronics), sound composer, video artist and performer. His works include Beirut
, Antenna Sonata
and Featuring Hind Rostom
; in dance/theater: Black Pepper
and Variations on a Face
> CTM.07 > CROSSINGS