The concept of East meets West is not new, but Eishan Ensemble, lead by Iranian tar virtuoso and composer Hamed Sadegh, approach their music as a fusion of the traditional and modern. It’s a unique form of jazz fusion without those impenetrable emotionless clichés that the term effortlessly conjures, where traditional Persian music meets some kind of modern chamber jazz.
Eishan Ensemble exist alongside the likes of Palestine’s Le Trio Joubran, or Iraqi oud player and composer Rahim AlHaj’s Trio, artists keen to highlight their traditions, yet also keep the music vital, moving forward with an ear open to potential influences.
Sadegh has composed all the music for this their debut release, fusing his tar to acoustic guitar, Double Bass, Clarinet and Saxophone. The ensemble effortlessly plays with dynamics, density and timbre, there are extended tar solos where everything just drops away, allowing the space for this evocative to hold court and the hand percussion is sprinkled liberally throughout, often absent for entire songs.
“I found many similarities between eastern music and jazz which made me want to try writing music in a way that I could fuse tar,” offers Sadegh in the press release. Tar is very much front and centre with the other instrumentation playing a supporting role, with Sadegh sprinkling the other instrumentation in duo or trio mode.
It’s a rare kind of dignified music. Everything is tightly controlled, stately, intensely evocative. Nim Dong is an elegant suite of Persian chamber jazz.