Ahmed Warshanna, Ishta | The Vinyl Anachronist

Think about Northern African influences on jazz, and eventually you’ll start thinking about “Caravan.” It’s one of those jazz standards that have received a lot of play in the last few years, possibly due to its role in the film Whiplash. But I’ll tell you a little secret: I’ve loved “Caravan” ever since I first listened to it, probably Ben Webster’s version, because of the mood it imparts. It’s exotic and melodically and rhythmically gorgeous, sort of symbolic of the global reach of jazz. Perhaps that’s why this new album from guitarist Ahmed Warshanna, Ishta, is so stunning. No, Ahmed Warshanna (website) doesn’t cover “Caravan” here. But he does know how to play straightforward jazz and infuse just enough of those Middle Eastern influences to deliver those same goose bumps, that same sense of the universal appeal of jazz. Warshanna is still a young man, raised in Baltimore in an Egyptian-American household, and music has always been an important part of his upbringing. Surprisingly he didn’t discover jazz until 2012, when he was in high school. (I told you he was young.) When his mother battled breast cancer, Ahmed Warshanna dove into the music of her childhood and found so [...]

Ahmed Warshanna, Ishta | The Vinyl Anachronist

Think about Northern African influences on jazz, and eventually you’ll start thinking about “Caravan.” It’s one of those jazz standards that have received a lot of play in the last few years, possibly due to its role in the film Whiplash. But I’ll tell you a little secret: I’ve loved “Caravan” ever since I first listened to it, probably Ben Webster’s version, because of the mood it imparts. It’s exotic and melodically and rhythmically gorgeous, sort of symbolic of the global reach of jazz. Perhaps that’s why this new album from guitarist Ahmed Warshanna, Ishta, is so stunning. No, Ahmed Warshanna (website) doesn’t cover “Caravan” here. But he does know how to play straightforward jazz and infuse just enough of those Middle Eastern influences to deliver those same goose bumps, that same sense of the universal appeal of jazz. Warshanna is still a young man, raised in Baltimore in an Egyptian-American household, and music has always been an important part of his upbringing. Surprisingly he didn’t discover jazz until 2012, when he was in high school. (I told you he was young.) When his mother battled breast cancer, Ahmed Warshanna dove into the music of her childhood and found so [...]