Al Jazeera recently broadcast a wonderful documentary on the life and music of the oud virtuoso Munir Bashir (1930-1997). A transcendent figure in the tradition of the Iraqi maqam, Bashir was a tireless innovator. While he performed in a variety of contexts, Bashir is perhaps best remembered for his solo improvisations, or taqasim, where he was able to incorporate a wide range of influences from across the Middle East and the rest of the world. Bashir came from a musical family. He learned from his father alongside his brother (also a notable musician), and his son Omar continues to carry on the family legacy and tradition of the Iraqi maqam.