Ishmael Ali's Zebec Returns to Columbus

Chicago-based guitarist and composer Ishmael Ali will bring his Zebec ensemble back to his hometown this weekend for two unique events. As part of an eight-day leg of their tour through the Midwest and East Coast, the band will play two shows locally: a full performance at Dick’s Den on Friday, October 9th, at 10pm (I enjoyed seeing them there in March), and a performance of an Ali-composed live soundtrack to the 2005 silent film The Call of Cthulhu at the Gateway Film Center on Saturday, October 10th, at 11:30pm. This is Ali’s second time composing and performing a live soundtrack for a silent film – his band accompanied the 1923 film Nosferatu at the Grandview Theater in 2012. Both Columbus shows will feature a compact lineup of Billy Wolfe (tenor sax, clarinet, bass clarinet), Ishmael Ali Zghoul (guitar, compositions), Michael Humpherys (double bass), and Matt Carroll (drum set, percussion). Cover for Dick’s is $4, and the Call of Cthulhu screening is free (it’s the opening film of this triple feature). Keep reading for more details on the Cthulhu project, along with an excerpt of Ali’s Nosferatu soundtrack:

About the film:

The Call of Cthulhu is a 2005 silent film adaptation of the 1928 H.P. Lovecraft short story. H.P. Lovecraft was an early 20th century author who is regarded as one of the most influential authors in the science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres. It was produced and distributed by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and was made in the style of 1920s era films. It has a running time of 47 minutes.

Plot Summary

While organizing the affairs of his late uncle, a man accidentally stumbles across a series of clues toward an ancient horror lurking beneath the sea, waiting for the time when the “Stars are Right” and it shall be free to wreak havoc upon mankind. In his investigation he learns of an artist influenced by strange dreams, a police officer discovering an ancient cult worshiping “Great Cthulhu” and ultimately a tale of sailors encountering sanity-shattering horror as they discover Cthulhu himself.

About the band:

Zebec was formed in early 2014 with the goal of writing and performing original music. The project is dedicated to exploring sound through jazz, collaborative improvisation, free jazz, as well as compositional and aesthetic concepts of the avant garde. Zebec’s music reflects their many influences, including 20th century classical music, jazz, and popular music. The group is led by guitarist and composer Ishmael Ali Zghoul and consists mainly of musicians living in the Chicago area.

Call of Cthulhu is scored for:

Billy Wolfe – alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet

Ishmael Ali – guitar

Michael Humpherys – bass

Matt Carroll – drum set, percussion

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