"Bête Noire" is the latest composition from the four-man band known as Atlas Maior. The eclectic bunch stray from the norm by mixing elements of jazz, Arab, Turkish and Latin American musical elements. This may look like more than you can handle on paper but the excellent way these guys layer their instrumentation is nothing less than beautiful. Band members Joshua Thomson (alto saxophone, flutes), Charlie Lockwood (oud), and Ted Camat (percussion) create a unique sound that balances intimate moments of sincerity with powerful melodies and incendiary rhythmic passages.
The band takes its name from the first world atlas, published by Joan Bleau in Amsterdam in the 17th century. Founded in Austin, TX in 2009, Atlas Maior was inspired by the idea of creating original music encompassing the group’s wide range of musical inspirations, including Egyptian composer Mohammad abdul-Wahhab, Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil, bassist Avishai Cohen, jazz artists Jackie McLean, Pharaoh Sanders, Sun Ra, and fusion projects such as Amalgama, Ojos de Brujo, Shakti, and local Austin world music pioneers Atash. "Bête Noire" is off their album 'Keyif'. The title refers to a Turkish concept that translates roughly as enchantment, delight, and conviviality, traces Atlas Maior's approach to music and life. Keyif demonstrates the group's maturing sonic identity by featuring original material, while also exploring their multidimensional musical influences.