Aziz Sahmaoui is a true inspiration to many musicians of the new generation. At the heart of the Orchestre National de Barbès or alongside Joe Zawinul, he has continued to promote traditional music Maghreb while listening to the most common modern jazz and fusion.
Aziz grew up in Marrakech, where for several decades the Ksar El Badii festival is held representing the cultural melting pot of different tribes and sounds of Morocco. From the age of 7, he was steeped in traditional music: chaabi, Ahwach, Nass el ghiwane, Lemchahab and especially the music of the Gnawa.
At 14, he formed his group, working on vocals, stringed instruments and touches its first stamps as a musician.
In the late 80s, after his studies of letters, Aziz decided to move to France where he encounters the most crucial of his career. He became one of the founders, leaders and composers of the world leading group of the 90s: the Orchestre National de Barbès (ONB) with which it reveals to the public and professionals a new musical style mixes North African rhythms in all their diversity jazz and fusion. With ONB, he toured the scenes of the world on the occasion of concerts in venues and prestigious references, while increasing the intimate scenes.
He has collaborated with leading jazz artists of the moment (touring and recording discs), including the guitarist with the group Nguyên Lê Maghreb & Friends, Michael Gibbs and (WDR Big Band Cologne Radio), the group Sixun fusion.
Finally, in 2005, Joe Zawinul invite Aziz for recording his double live album "Vienna Night" at Birdland in Vienna, Austria. It was therefore up to the disappearance of the master in September 2007, was a member of the Zawinul Syndicate. As a tribute, it continues to happen today, consisting of Paco Sery (drums), Alioune Wade (electric bass), Alegre Corea (guitar), Jorge Bezera Jr (drums) and Aziz Sahmaoui (vocals, guembri and percussion).
Aziz in 2010 recorded his first solo album with his new band "University of Gnawa" directed by producer Martin Meissonier. The group is composed of five members in addition to Aziz: Alune Wade (bass), Cheikh Diallo (kora, keyboards), Herve Samb (guitar), Guillaume Pihet (percussion) and Amar Chaoui (percussion). The release of the album is scheduled for April 2011.
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