Shay Hazan - Wusul

Format: Vinyl / Digital

Release Date: March 1, 2024


Shay Hazan – Wusul

Shay Hazan radiates with musical diversity on ‘Wusul وصول’, His second solo album on Batov Records.

Acclaimed Tel Aviv bassist, band leader, composer and producer, Shay Hazan emerges into the limelight with his highly anticipated second solo album, ‘Wusul وصو’. This groundbreaking musical odyssey artfully melds the enchanting sounds of Gnawa music, spiritual jazz, hip hop grooves, and electronic production, with a rich tapestry of Middle Eastern and African influences.

Hazan’s debut solo album for Batov Records, ‘Reclusive Ritual,’ unveiled a fresh musical realm. It introduced the guimbri, a three-stringed camel-skin-covered bass plucked lute used by the Gnawa people of Morocco, to a landscape of jazzy horns, synths, and laid-back hip-hop beats.

The album garnered support on BBC 6 Radio Music and earned Hazan a mix on the Huey Show. With over two four-star reviews, Songlines magazine dubbed it “groovy,” while Mojo magazine described it as “hypnotic.” ‘Wusul وصول’ builds on this legacy, offering a broader sonic palette, enhanced organic instrumentation, a lighter atmosphere, and elevated production values.

The album’s enigmatic title, ‘Wusul’ (Arabic for ‘arrival’), celebrates the expected birth of Hazan’s first born child, expected to arrive around the same time as this album. Fitting, given that the latter is the result of a transformative phase in Hazan’s career, with many of the album’s songs evolving and taking shape during live performances. Most notably, a majority of the musicians featured on ‘Wusul وصول’ are integral members of Hazan’s live band, bringing a synergy and connection to the music that is palpable.

Standout track, “Sunflowers”, featuring the exceptional Nitai Hershkovits on keys, showcases Hazan’s prowess on guimbri, guitar, percussions, and synths. This mesmerising composition, recorded by Hazan himself, seamlessly weaves together a diverse array of musical elements, resulting in an uplifting and danceable masterpiece.

On “A Walk In Dir El-Assad”, Hazan invites listeners with him to the small Arabic village of El-Assad, where at night the air is full of sounds of music emanating from multiple weddings. Over a cacophony of percussion, live drums from Shahar Haziza, and Hazan’s earthy guimbri-led basslines and gritty guitar, Eyal Netzer and tenor sax and Roy Zuzovsky trade solos and harmonise over the melody.

Delivering one of the heaviest grooves on the album, “Vibe jadid” commences with the distinctive percussive sound of krakebs, large iron castanet-like musical instruments, primarily known for supplying the rhythmic aspect of Moroccan Gnawa music, before the earthy guimbri bassline hits, accompanied by a half time hip-hop-like kick drum and clap. Triumphant horns ring out the anthemic melody, offset by otherworldly synths.

Shay Hazan’s creative process reveals a cross-cultural narrative influenced by his extensive travels, from Central America to Japan, where he encountered the rich tradition of Gnawa musicians in Tel Aviv. The album includes a fascinating tune named “Shimo Kitazawa”, inspired by a Tokyo neighbourhood, as well as other tracks infused with the global vibes that have touched his musical soul.

Dedicated compositions like “Dew” and ‘Yooltz” pay homage to the friends and musicians who helped shape this album. Opener “Dew” is a nod to trumpeter Tal Avraham, who contributes a hypnotising solo. “Yooltz” is a loving tribute to tenor saxophonist Eyal Netzer, who contributes a soulful solo to the song, adding a distinctive layer of brilliance to the album. The Afrobeat leaning “Oladipo”, on the other hand, is dedicated to the late great drummer, musical director of Fela Kuti’s band legendary Africa ’70, and pioneer of the sound, Tony Allen.

Hazan utilises synths to create an eerie atmosphere on “Street Souls”, inspired by the characters who frequently inhabit the streets around Hazan’s studio, sharing insightful comments from time-to-time. The slim wall of separation, provided by his machines and studio walls, from the junkies and prostitutes outside is emblematic of the slim divide between his privileged existence and theirs. This urban tension continues on album closer “Riff Raff”, taps into the tumultuous undercurrents of social movements and demonstrations, injecting a sense of urgency into the album’s diverse tapestry, with its jolting groove.

Shay Hazan’s journey continues as he embarks on a series of international performances, including the Jazz Jantar Festival in Dansk, Poland, and the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival. He has recently captivated audiences at the prestigious Jazz in the Park Festival in Romania and the Jerusalem Jazz Festival. His music transcends borders, uniting listeners worldwide in a vibrant celebration of sound and culture.

‘Wusul وصول’ is an introspective journey through the intricate tapestry of musical influences that have shaped Shay Hazan’s unique sound. While Western and Mizrahi pop have left their marks on the record, they serve as threads in a larger, more intricate musical fabric. Hazan’s profound exploration transcends traditional boundaries, weaving together a rich sonic tapestry that defies easy categorization.


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