San Francisco’s MWE explores the music of the Near East in
tight, virtuosic ensemble playing. The band is fronted by alto saxophone,
clarinet and zurna, a raucous-sounding double-reed traditionally used to call a
community to gather. The tone is uncompromising—no sugar coating, electronic
doodling or trip-hop rhythms to satisfy the “world music” market—and might
appeal to devotees of avant-garde jazz for its bold harmonics.