Stefan Christoff Duets for Abdelrazik

Stefan Christoff Duets for Abdelrazik
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The connection between artistic expression, cultural awareness and human rights issues is a vital channel through which the impetus for justice and change can flow. When the Canadian government of Stephen Harper dragged its heels, stymieing the return of Abousfian Adelrazik from his years of persecution and torture in Sudan, artists and activists were at the forefront of lobbying and protests to expedite his safe homecoming. Montreal pianist/activist Stefan Christoff assembled a stellar cast of collaborators with whom to express his mixture of emotions on this raw, dark subject. Saxophonist Matana Roberts begins sombrely in a duet that rings with anti-racist resonances, going back to Coltrane's weighty "Alabama." Most of the six pieces don't overtly state a solid rhythm, but the duo, with bassist Peter Burton, locks in as both he and Christoff converse responsively. Sam Shalabi contributes a particularly moving performance on oud, bringing out more lyrical lines from the pianist. Each duet is robustly emotional and compelling. (Howl Arts Collective)