Joseph Shabason

Across eight tracks that mesh spacious, jazz-laced composition with fourth-world and adult-contemporary tonality, Toronto saxophonist Joseph Shabason sketches an auditory map of the transcendence, unity, conditioning, and eventual renunciation of his upbringing in an Islamic and Jewish dual-faith household. The resulting album The Fellowship bears the name of the insular Islamic community Shabason’s traditionally Jewish parents belonged to from a time before he was even born; a mental and spiritual push-pull which continued shaping, even controlling, his outlook well into his adulthood. As a listening experience The Fellowship follows a chronological arc that spans three generations covering his parents’ early lives, his own spiritual and physical adolescence, and his subsequent struggle to eschew the problematic habituations of such a conflicted past.   On The Fellowship, as on prior albums that bear his name, Joseph Shabason does what only the best instrumental music makers can: tell a story with emotional clarity that conveys even the subtlest of feelings, all without singing a single word. As wordless as ever-- with as complex a theme as ever-- this album may be his most emotionally articulate yet. Most importantly, those lost in the woods of repression and self-doubt that organized religion can be at its worst now have The Fellowship to help guide them into a softer light.



Selected Press


  • Pitchfork
  • …ravishing…Coltrane, Eno, and Metheny are touchstones, but Shabason’s abstraction is sensual, his language emotional…lethal in it’s softness.

  • …the most calming, dreamlike track you’ll hear today…beautiful…magical transportive healing vibes.

  • Gorilla vs. Bear
  • I love it…very original…so exciting.

  • Bob Boilen, NPR
  • …rich, healing, ambient jazz…

  • The A. V. Club
  • …layers of gorgeous, organic soloing.

  • Tiny Mix Tapes
  • …his music will caress your senses. It is both soothing and stimulating…Joseph Shabason takes you to another dimension. Your reduced stress levels will thank you.

  • The Revue
  • I love this record