Miles Jay began playing the electric bass at an early age, and picked up the double bass in high school. Immediately after graduating in 2006, he moved to Cairo to broaden his experience in Egyptian music traditions. In Cairo Miles co-founded, co-produced and recorded 2 unique musical ensembles called Bakash and Masar. Both albums were produced and distributed by Lebanese record label Incognito.
Miles’ strong musical foundation in Jazz and Classical music, combined with his extensive performance experience in the musical traditions of the Middle East, have made him one of the most uniquely qualified double bassists in the World Music scene today. His performance experience has taken him around the world, from Cairo to Oslo, Dubai to Dakar, Carnegie Hall to the Kennedy Center, with performance credits including Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), Fathy Salama (Egypt), Naseer Shama (Iraq), the Cairo Symphony Orchestra, Ross Daly (Greece), Azzam Ali (Iran), and Omar Faruk Tekbilek (Turkey).
Lebanese-born Charbel Haber is a self-taught guitar player and composer. He is one of the most active and iconic figures in today’s Lebanese alternative music scene, and feels perfectly at ease operating in a wide range of musical settings. In 1998, he co-founded Lebanese post-punk group Scrambled Eggs, with whom he has recorded three full-length albums of scorching noise-rock, to great critical acclaim. Haber is also a full-fledged member of Beirut’s growing Improv community, and joined the MILL (the association for Free Improvised Music in Lebanon) in 2002. His involvement with MILL has seen him performing with the likes of the Moukhtabar big ensemble, the Grendizer Trio free improv collective, as well as free improv trio BAO.
Haber launched his own experimental label, Those Kids Must Choke, in 2004. He has collaborated with musicians as diverse as Michael Zerang, Gene Coleman, Jean Pallandre, Laurent Grappe, Tadahiko Yokogawa, Stephane Rives, and David Stackenas…
These two prolific musicians are collaborating for the first time, for a unique concert at the Monnot Theatre in Beirut. The concert will feature the worldwide premiere, so to speak, of Miles Jay’s self-made instrument, a highly unusual combination of double bass and n’goni (a three or four-stringed instrument from Mali). Whether strumming, plucking, or gently bowing, Jay is particularly adept at wringing strange, soothing melodies from his instrument, only to be fiercely challenged by Haber’s maniacal use of delay, pedals, and e-bow. Theirs is an intriguing dialogue, one that is bound neither by geographical nor musical differences; it is a dialogue of colors, of musical shapes and forms, hovering on the edge of melody, without quite settling into a definitive groove or pattern. Recollections of Derek Bailey and Loren Connors’ later releases, Nels Cline’s recent experimentalism, as well as Tortoise and the Chicago Underground Trio’s finely honed Post-rock, immediately spring to mind.
This meeting between two great musical mavericks is expected to generate a tantalizing amount of sparks and intensity.
[Photo by Ziad Nawfal]