BAC Salon: Tarek Yamani
Afro-Tarab for Two
“The pianist exploits the most expressive musical idiom of his adopted city (jazz) to explore, transform, transfigure and shed fresh light on the music of his rooted, real homeland.” – Time Out
Critically acclaimed Lebanese-American composer and pianist Tarek Yamani explores classical Arabic music within the frameworks of African-American jazz. The result, a genre often dubbed as "Afro-Tarab," takes audiences on a journey from late 1800's Egypt and Iraq to contemporary New York. For his performance at BAC, Yamani is joined by vibraphonist Sasha Berliner.
Leadership support for music programming provided by the Anne and Chris Flowers Foundation and the Thompson Family Foundation.
Tarek Yamani is an Lebanese-American New York-based composer and self-taught jazz pianist. In 2010, he won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Composers Competition for his composition Sama'i Yamani featuring Syrian singer Rasha Rizk. Since the release of his debut Ashur in 2012, Tarek has been dedicated to exploring relationships between African-American Jazz and Arabic rhythms/maqams which are most evident in his second album Lisan Al Tarab: Jazz Conceptions in Classical Arabic.
In 2016, Yamani was commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation to write new work based on the rhythms of the Arabian Gulf. The new work entitled Peninsular was released in March 2017 and had its world premiere at the Abu Dhabi Festival 2017. Yamani has been fortunate to share the stage with luminaries such as Wayne Shorter, Richard Bona, Zakir Hussein, Esperanza Spalding, Antonio Sanchez, and Vinnie Coliauta and has performed in venues such as the United Nations Assemble Hall, Gran Teatro de la Habana, The Smithsonian Institute, MuCEM museum, NYU (Abu Dhabi Festival), The Blue Whale, The Detroit Institute of Arts, and Sunset Sunside. In April 2013, Yamani founded, organized, and produced a cutting edge performance called Beirut Speaks Jazz which aims to promote jazz in Lebanon by igniting adventurous collaborations between artists from the worlds of rock, pop, tarab, rap, and blues over the foundations of jazz. Yamani is the recipient of many awards such as the Givanas Foundation grant, the Huygens scholarship, the Andrea Elkenbracht award, the Prins Bernhard Culture fund, the Thelonious Monk Composers Competition prize, the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency, the New Dutch composition contest, and the Composer's Platform Commission by the Abu Dhabi Festival. He scored the music of I Say Dust, a film by Darine Hotait which screened in over 70 festivals around the world and was shown on BBC, Sundance TV, and AMC Network. As a writer, Yamani has self-published two books: Duple vs Triple: A Melodic Approach to Mastering Polyrhythms in Jazz and other Groove-Based Music and The Percussion Ensemble of the Arabian Peninsula.
Sasha Berliner is a musician, composer, producer, and band leader from San Francisco, CA. She started playing drums at eight years old and went on to pursue a jazz emphasis at her high school, Oakland School for the Arts, where she picked up the vibraphone at age 13. She attended the Banff International Workshop for Jazz & Creative Music, Atlanta Jazz Festival, NYC Winter Jazz Festival, NYC Composers Now Festival, and Deutsches Jazz Festival in Frankfurt, Germany, all by the age of 19.
Berliner has performed at venues such as the Fox Theater, Great American Music Hall, The Jazz Gallery, Treasure Island Music Festival, Davies Symphony Hall, the Jazz Education Network Conference, the SF Jazz Miner Auditorium, Smalls Jazz Club, The Velvet Note, and the Next Generation Monterey Jazz Festival. She has been featured by Hot House Jazz Magazine, Downbeat Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and The New York Times for both her musicianship and her activism. She has had the honor of sharing the stage with musicians such as Ravi Coltrane, Ambrose Akinmusire, Matt Wilson, Jane Ira Bloom, Billy Hart, Melissa Aldana, Ledisi, Vince Lateano, Victor Wooten, and Tyshawn Sorey, and has received personal recognition from musicians such as Sean Jones, Tia Fuller, Terri Lyne Carrington, Matt Stevens, Jen Shyu, Antonio Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, and Obed Calvaire. Berliner is currently attending The New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York City. She studies under contemporary jazz vibraphonists Stefon Harris and Chris Dingman. Sasha also currently works for Biophilia Records, the environmentally conscious music label cultivated by pianist Fabian Almazan. Berliner’s sophomore album, Azalea, is projected to release by the end of 2018.