Atlas Maioris thrilled to announce the release of their new full-length albumRiptide,outMay 3, 2019, and will celebrate the release with a hometown performance atStay GoldonMay 24, 2019.Riptiderepresents the group’s most dynamic and intricate effort to-date as the eleven song album traverses American and Progressive Jazz, Middle Eastern and Indian traditions, and Latin American musical idioms. The result creates hypnotic, transportive soundscapes with powerful melodies and gripping passages that are uniquely Atlas Maior.
Atlas Maior writes original melodies exploring maqamat (the Middle Eastern modal system) and harmonic progressions found in American jazz. The group composes with a wide variety of rhythms and traditional percussion instruments including the Indian tablas, Middle Eastern dumbek, Peruvian cajón, and Brazilian pandeiro. Recorded in 2018 at Austin’s Bell Tree Studio,Riptideis the culmination of several years of the Atlas Maior compositional process by band membersJoshua Thomson(alto saxophone),Charlie Lockwood(oud – Middle Eastern fretless lute),Josh Peters(oud), andTed Camat(drums, percussion). The album is bolstered by several featured guest artists and regular contributors to Atlas Maior, including violin maestroRobert Riggio(Atash, Youssou N’dour, Fayrouz), rhythm section talentsGary Calhoun James(double bass),Tarik Hassan(double bass), and Palestinian oud playerSari Andoni.Riptidewas produced by Thomson and Lockwood, mixed by Gary Calhoun James, & mastered by Carl Saff.
Thomson enthusiastically states about the new album “Our 5th studio release Riptide is the culmination of many creative ideas that have come to fruition. This is the band’s most polished album and its informed by our experiences working together, and the struggles and achievements we’ve experienced as people. There’s a lot of depth, emotion, and expression within the songs onRiptide. Themes of loss, gain, resilience, and perseverance are all in there.”
When fans listen to Atlas Maior, the blend of international sounds and progressive jazz styles, may not conjure up the imagery of the capital city of Austin, TX, known more for folk, singer/songwriters, and indie rock. But there is no other city like Austin, that draws top notch musicians from around the world, where such a unique band like Atlas Maior could be created. The geographical pivot points of Detroit, Austin, Barcelona, and Istanbul have impacted the musical identity of Atlas Maior. Thomson originally from Detroit’s Middle Eastern suburb Dearborn, MI was influenced by Jazz and Middle Eastern music before relocating to Austin and co-founding the band with original drummer, Ethan Vlah, who was fresh from Barcelona, Spain. Then with the addition of Lockwood and the Oud brought things to another level. In Austin, there is a rich history of oud players that Atlas Maior has collaborated with and learned from includingKamran Hooshmand, who was one of the first Persian musicians to actively perform Middle Eastern music in Austin,Oliver Rajamani, the virtuoso flamenco guitar, Indian rebab, and oud player, Atash violinistRobert Riggiowho also plays the oud, andSari Andoni, Palestinian oud player, who is also featured on the album (“Osman Pehlivan”).
It is only logical that a band with this much depth in international music not only resonates in Texas and the U.S., but has also found a dedicated following in Europe, which they’ve completed three international tours and will embark on another one in 2019.