English Biography

Mamdouh Bahri’s English Biography

He is carrying on the tradition of jazz guitar from Wes Montgomery to the present day while expanding some musical boundaries, combining Afro-Mediterranean music with a tradition well represented by jazz standards. His savvy original composition catch listeners, while making groove and jam-oriented music create a symbiotic affinity between the artist and the audience.

Mamdouh Bahri was born in Sfax, Tunisia, and came to Montpellier, in the south of France, at the age of 25. He grew up listening to the traditional music of Tunisia, where he absorbed the Eastern strains into his music and started playing Derbouka (hand drum percussion).

As a teenager, he listened to Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, Eric Clapton and B.B. King. When he got his first guitar at eighteen, he started emulating their sounds and performing with local bands, adding his own personal flair to the popular songs of the seventies.

When he heard George Benson’s « Weekend in L.A. » he got interested in jazz and started listening to the work of Benson, Wes Montgomery, and Joe Pass, and later to Pat Martino, which sparked a lifelong love of jazz.

In 1982, he moved to Montpellier and was recruited by JAM (Jazz Action Montpellier) to teach music, and played a key role in the development of the organization until 1991. He became a very active musician and has kept an open musical mind, listening to more jazz (Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Miles Davis) and learning to play straight-ahead jazz.

His first recording « Song for Sarah », recorded in 1987, was post-bop funk-oriented.

In 1988, Mamdouh Bahri came up with a unique way of propelling his Mediterranean heritage mixed with the jazz and Blues.

From 1989 to 1993, he formed a quartet with the pianist Horace Parlan which also included Italian bassist Riccardo Del Fra and drummer Idris Muhammad from New Orleans. In 1991 they recorded the CD « From Tunisia with Love », live in Carthage.

In 1991 he moved to New York City and joined the collective « The Spirit of Life Ensemble » led by Daoud Williams, and performed with Talib Kibwe, Ted Curson, Michael Cochrane, and Winard Harper, among others. He recorded seven albums with them, using his distinctive playing and compositional skills to bring freshness to the sound of the collective.

In 1993, he released his third album « Nefta ». The original tunes were influenced by a variety of musical traditions including Middle Eastern, Jazz and North African music.

In 1998, he continued with an acoustic album « African Flame » in trio (guitar, percussion & bass), exploring and growing his music, transcending cultural, genre and language barriers.

Since 2016, he teaches at the CFPM « Centre de Formation Professionnelle de la Musique » (Music Professional Training Center)

In 2017, he was also member and president of the jury of « Les journées musicales de Carthage » (Carthage Musical Days) # jmc2017, Tunisia

Now he is taking all these diverse influences and styles and mixing them with jazz all over again.

Festivals & Concerts

In France

Auxerre, Avignon, Balaruc, Bastia, Béziers, Bologne, Cannes, Cahors, Grenoble, Foix, Lille, Nantes, Nîmes, Niort, Montpellier, Paris, Pézenas, Pointe-à-Pitre, Romans, Toulouse…

Throughout the world

Estonia : Tallinn, Tartu; Finland : Imatra, Turku, Pori, Helsinki; Tunisia : Carthage, El Jem, Hammamet, Sfax, Sidi Bou Saïd, Sousse, Tabarka, Tunis; Bahreïn, Chilie : Santiago du Chili, Valparaiso, Vigna Del Mar, Coquimbo, …;
China; United Arab Emirates : Dubai, Abu Dhabi, …; Gabon; Greece; India; Morocco; Qatar; Pakistan : Lahore, Karachi, …; USA : New York (Blue Note, Sweet Basil, S.O.B’S, Five Spot), Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Alabama and New Jersey.

Radios & Televisions


Jersey City Cable Television Channel 51 (USA), Tunis 7 and canal 21 (Tunisie), Abu Dhabi TV (UAE)


USA : WKCR (New York), WBGO (New Jersey); in France : France Musique, RFI, RMC… in Tunisia : Radio Tunis, Radio Sfax…



Mamdouh Bahri « Tabarka », CD: JMA 0511-1 (2005)
Mamdouh Bahri « African Flame », CD: Aljazzira JC 55004 (1998)
Mamdouh Bahri « Nefta-les portes du désert », CD: ZZ 84110 MFA (1993)
Mamdouh Bahri « From Tunisia with Love », Live at Carthage, CD: RECD 025 (1992)
Mamdouh Bahri « Song for Sarah », K7: Aljazzira JK 55001 (1987)

USA / Japan

Spirit of Life Ensemble « Live au Duc », CD: RUP 100-12 (2002)
Spirit of Life Ensemble « Song for My Father », CD: KICJ 361 (1998)
Spirit of Life Ensemble « Collage », CD: RUP 100-10 (1998)
Spirit of Life Ensemble « Live at Pori Jazz », CD: RUP 100-9 (1997)
Spirit of Life Ensemble « Live! At the 5 Spot, NY », CD: RUP 100-8 (1995)
Spirit of Life Ensemble « Feel the Spirit », CD: RUP 100-4 (1994)
Spirit of Life Ensemble « Inspirations », CD: RUP 100-3 (1993)


  • October 1982 – January 1991 | JAM (Jazz Action Montpellier)
  • Since 1991, artistic awareness campaigns in France and abroad
    • APA (workshop of artistic practice) at the Collège de Poussan (1997/1998/1999), the Collège de Sète (2001)
  • Workshop: Conservatory of Narbonne (1998), Conservatory of Béziers (2000)
    • Sfax Conservatory (1991/1994/1997/2001/2004/2006)
    • Center for Arab and Mediterranean Music, Sidi Bou Saïd – Tunis (2004/2006)
    Since September 2007 | AMA (Workshops of Current Musics)
  • Since October 2016 | CFPM (Center for Professional Music Training)
  • Publication (book): Guide to the techniques used to compose and arrange « First Tools: harmony, improvisation, composition »


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