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Ibrahim Maalouf shines at Montreux Jazz Festival

French-Lebanese trumpet player Ibrahim Maalouf
MONTREUX, Switzerland: The 51st Montreux Jazz Festival ended in the wee hours of Sunday after two weeks of music events attended by some 230,000 people.
Among the highlights was Ibrahim Maalouf, who made his first appearance since 2006 at the Swiss festival.
The French-Lebanese trumpet player and composer brought his bold, brassy sound to the famed Swiss stage, moving from trumpet to piano solos as he blended jazz with melodies influenced by the Orient.
Maalouf, born in Beirut to musician parents, moved effortlessly between instruments. He grew up in Paris after the family fled Lebanon during that country’s civil war.
“I played my first concert here 11 years ago at the Montreux Jazz Cafe. When it was over, I was tired so I went to bed at 2 a.m.,” the 36-year-old Maalouf told the crowd.
“The next morning, I found out that Prince had shown up at the cafe at 2 and jammed until 5 O’clock in the morning. You learn a lot in life. Tonight I’m not sleeping,” he said.
Maalouf played tracks from his 2015 album “Red & Black Light,” including the title song, “Elephant’s Tooth” and “Improbable.” He encouraged the audience to join in humming, swaying and jumping up and down to his powerful arrangements.
— With input from Reuters
“It was more show than performance,” said Mohammad Ashkanani, a Kuwaiti fan. “But he is a great musician, I have two of his CDs, both excellent.”
“I’ve been coming for 40 years to Montreux, almost every year,” he said. “It is high-class music and I love jazz.”
Maalouf brought 35 musicians from Switzerland onstage to play “True Sorry.”
“It was huge. Just incredible playing with him for 3,000 people,” Damien Limat, a 24-year-old saxophonist from the Lausanne jazz school, told Reuters after the show.
— With input from Reuters

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