Updated: Mar 20, 2019
Original Love by Azhaar and Global Wave, 2018, FAR Productions
Album reviewed by Chris Watson, Music Eye, January 2019
Azhaar Saffar is as exotic as her name, half Welsh and half Iraqi, she lives for her music which she brings to us with the passion of her calling. A talented violinist, composer, songwriter and singer, I first came across her at the launch of her Original love Album in the Cornerhouse in Frome, the home of our local talented Jazz musicians. It was May, 2018 and I remember her glittering in front of her Band , Global Wave, such a talented multi-national group that I thought they could only be based in the heart of London, not Bristol. With a clear, caressing voice and inspiring violin, she led the band to an amazing live performance; I saw Azhaar playing as a guest in other Jazz ventures, including Gypsy Jazz, throughout the year and was privileged to be asked to film a performance of Global Wave at the Bocabar in Glastonbury in August 2018, not long after their appearance at the iconic Pizza Express in Soho.
Her Album, Original Love, was inspired by her own background, her travels and a heady mix of influences from playing around the World. However, it was her Bohemian wanderings in Latin America that gave us Original Love and a genre of World Jazz fusion has been created.....
The whole feel of the Album is one of white sand shelving to gently lapping turquoise waves, palms rustling in warm breezes and wide blue skies somewhere miles across the Ocean where we can just be with what we love....
Sure, Azhaar is a Jazz violinist in essence but her compositions are a great strength combining Jazz with evocative Latin dance beats and beautiful vocals that leaves audiences entranced, moving and dancing to the rhythm.
Supported by exciting percussion throughout and soft Bass, her songs are highlighted by individual solo performances from talented pianist Tom Berge and Azhaar herself on Violin. Gareth Lockrane's Flute adds to the layers of Jazz on "Gypsy" and "Arproador". "Original Love" (recently on an Illicit Groove's best track poll) has all the elements that make up that far away Latin groove that takes us on that musical wave across the expanses of mind, space and ocean, as do "Down to Earth", "Popoyo","Too much", "Arproador". Laid back piano and sublime jazz singing comes from "Gypsy" and "Gaia".
"Songlines" lyrics reflect Azhaar's nomadic nature and mirrors my own imaginings of ancestral Nomads passing through the mists of time; we are all made of the same stuff as stars and we all have a timeless connection....
"Raining in my life" is the saddest song but still brings optimism with well crafted lyrics and sensitive music.
Azhaar's lyrics reflect her thoughts and wisdom acquired from her life and relationships which affect all of us deeply; identification with songs gives an all important emotional connection between artist and audience. Original Love is a celebration of Azhaar's travels and experiences and carries us along on a global wave of optimism.
See video of excerpts of Original Love at the Bocabar at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRD9OePhFMg