Hossam Ramzy: Rock the Tabla

A true world-music project, this gathering incorporates the talents of Egyptian percussionist Hossam Ramzy with Indian keyboardist-composer A.R. Rahman, Turkey’s double-reed virtuoso Omar Faruk Tekbilek, French drummer Manu Katché and the great drummer Billy Cobham. Ramzy, who played on Peter Gabriel’s Passion and Chick Corea’s The Ultimate Adventure, grounds this extraordinary undertaking with Egyptian tablas (which sound different than Indian tablas). Katché is featured on the flamenco-flavored “Arabantana,” while Cobham’s crisp power-precision drumming is highlighted on “Six Teens” (a clever name for the tune’s underlying rhythm of 16, broken into phrases of 7 and 9) and on the infectious “Billy Dancing.” Ramzy engages in two stripped-down percussion jams, with taiko drum master Joji Hirota on “Shukran Arigato” and African djembe drummer Nahini Doumbia on “Dom & Doumbia.” The young Egyptian electric violinist Mohammed Ali is featured on “Bluesy Flusey,” and a mystery guest guitarist wails on the title track (most likely Jimmy Page, whom Ramzy worked with on the Page/Plant reunion tour of 1995-96). A veritable United Nations of music is contained on this compelling disc.