Angels of Persepolis

Iranian-born Mehran has mastered flamenco guitar and here uses his skills on a concept album about events in his home country.

The music is a mix of jazz, new age, and Iranian. The songs include dazzling solos and a mix of instruments, along with ambient sounds, snippets of speech from Winston Churchill and crowds of people.

Mehran’s soloing covers a lot of ground, but even in the quickest passages, it’s melodic. The solo on “Korean Soup” mixes his flamenco skill with jazz harmony where he solos flawlessly over nice changes. Same can be said for “The Oblong Box,” which is a melding of styles. “Minds Eye” is a solo piece that shows masterful chordal work and single-line soloing.

The instrumentation on this album supplies a noteworthy, different feel. The cello of Alyson Burger and violin of Manoela Wunder are prominent, and serve as tremendous foils for Mehran’s soloing.

Mehran is using his gift to spotlight the plight of the Iranian people, and this record is dedicated to their efforts to overthrow tyranny. The closing piece has no instrumentation. Instead, it’s a recording from Iran of the reading of “Rooftop Poem.” His commitment to the people shines. So does his guitar playing.

This article originally appeared in VG‘s Jan. ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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