Recommended concert: Nashaz @ Sycamore (Brooklyn)

Date: Monday, May 14, 2012
Time: 8 pm
Venue: Sycamore (1118 Cortelyou Rd, Brooklyn, near the Q train)
Ticket: $10
Genre: Arabic music

Brian Prunka, who recently joined SoSaLa, is with his newest Arabic/Jazz/Oud/? project Nashaz back in town! He’se been laying low for the past few months, rehearsing some new music and preparing to make a record. He’s lucky to have some really amazing musicians involved who bring their passion and talents and personalities to the music: Kenny Warren on trumpet, Nathan Herrera on alto sax, Javier Moreno Sanchez on bass,  Vin Scalia on percussion. And Brian Prunka on oud. Nashaz is going to perform two new tunes.

About Nashaz

Nashaz performs original music that imagines what it would sound like if jazz was invented in the middle east. The seeds of the band were sown in 1995 when founder/oud player Brian Prunka was an upstart jazz musician in New Orleans. Catching a cab to a gig one night, the Egyptian driver noticed the guitar and started talking to him about music. As he dropped Prunka off, he suggested, “you should learn to play the oud, it is the most beautiful instrument.

    Although the comment prompted little more than puzzlement at the time, it turned out to be a prophecy of sorts: soon after, Prunka came across an oud album while digging through a record store and bought it on a whim. When he put the music on, he was hooked. He learned as much of the music as he could on the guitar and then started trying to get his hands on an oud–which was not easy in New Orleans. After months of searching, he finally found someone who could ship him one. Within weeks of receiving it, he had obsessively taught himself dozens of tunes and started performing on oud with some of the more open-eared jazz musicians in the city.

    He later traveled to study with renowned Arab musicians including Simon Shaheen and  Bassam Saba and eventually wound up in Brooklyn, where he met Kenny Warren and Nathan Herrera and their mutual interests led to the formation of Nashaz.

The name of the band is a tongue-in-cheek joke in Arabic, as the word nashaz is used to denote musicianship that is aesthetically displeasing, usually by playing out of tune.

If you want a general description, it’s our take on bringing together elements of the Arabic music tradition in original compositions coming from a jazz sensibility.  Or something along those lines.