Pakistani quartet JAUBI are returning to Astigmatic Records for Nafs at Peace. Their work with 22a boss Tenderlonious and Polish pianist Marek Pędziwiatr yielded last year’s gorgeous Ragas From Lahore, and the intercontinental collaboration is furthered on this album, forged exclusively through improvisation between the six musicians. The music blends jazz and Hindustani classical, drawing from thematic principles from the Qur’an, and offering cathartic exposition of the musicians’ internal lives.
The relationship between Jazz and Islam stretches back the better part of a century, and the religiosity of Islamic musicians in America underpinned much of what is retrospectively termed “spiritual jazz”. It’s fitting that these same musical and extra-musical roots find themselves intertwined on Nafs at Peace, which maps the spiritual refinement of the self, or “Nafs” across seven pieces.
‘Zari’ is the album’s penultimate track and speaks to the sense of ecstasy and fulfilment found through musical and religious dialogue. The rapturous, searching rasp of the Sarangi soars over a vamping bassline, the scintillating keys of a Fender Rhodes beaming like the sun, before trailing out on soothing Rhodes and flute — the tranquility of Nafs at Peace.
Nafs at Peace will be released on Astigmatic Records on 28th May.