El-Mutakallimun (Masters of the Word) mixes, and only Souad knows how to do this, folk and rock, singing in Arabic whilst combining Fado style and African soul music. Her melodic songs are universally appealing, covering topics from love to politics. On "El Mutakallimun", Souad Massi has immersed herself in Arabic poetry and used some of the most significant poems from across the Millennium as the lyrics for her most beautiful collection of songs.
Electric guitarist Joel Kipnis – or JK, as the smooth jazz world will know him – is an amazingly unselfish musician, not only including his keyboardist Dinky Bingham and featured vocalist Robyn Springer on the back cover of his Verve Forecast debut What's the Word, but deferring lead parts and solos to them as well as other bandmembers more often than not throughout the disc. Kipnis will establish a theme, then kick around in the background while Bingham sprouts a frenetic bluesy organ solo, Scott Kreitzer sparks some fancy improvisations on sax, and Jim Hynes eases in on trumpet, all in rapid succession. The tag eaming bears the most fruit on the funkiest cut "In the Pocket," where Bingham bubbles under JK's slick lines while Hynes waits for an open door to chime in a measure or two. While JK isn't always the one who stands out most on each cut, give him credit for aiming for solid ensemble vibes The few full-on instrumentals are a blast.