NOTES ON JAZZ
by Ralph A. Miriello
East satisfies western – report on “Spirit and Spice” by George Br ks’ Summit
The path that is musical of George Br ks is just a serpentine someone to say minimal. He has always appeared to be attracted to slightly out from the mainstream artists like the pianist Jaki Byard, the saxophonist that is iconoclast Guiffre and trombonist Slide Hampton. He’s got examined with George Russell, played in orchestras led by Gunther Schuller and collaborated with the minimalist composer/pianist Terry Riley. Sometime back the 1980вЂ™s he t k two extensive trips to India and there he became captivated by the music with this land that is ancient. He studied with and master that is befriended vocalist Pandit Pran Nath, a friendship that lasted before the masterвЂ™s death in 1996.
By having a understanding that is thorough of raga style he’s used numerous important Indian artists both here and abroad. Their relationship with master fusion drummer and another time member of the stone group Journey, Steve Smith, led him to form their Raga Bop Trio with Smith and Indian electric guitar player Prasanna. Their work with tabla master Zakir Hussain led him to be a featured artist on John McLauglinвЂ™s “Floating Point ” album in 2008.
On Spirit And Spice , Br ks has written and performed a fascinating, sonically rich and rhythmically alive collection of music that effectively integrates two distinct musical kinds, creating an alluring hybrid having a unique distinct appeal.
Through the opening salvo вЂњMons n BluesвЂќ you get struck by having a funk that is high-powered song. Electrical bassist Kai EckhardtвЂ™s keeps the gr ve at the syncopated beat of Steve Smith plus the tenor that is honky of Br ks. Br ks has some Maceo Parker soul/funk happening here, possibly a nod to his start backing blues artists like Etta James and Motown favorites like The Temptations. The group adds some curried spicing to the tune by introducing a section with Indian multi-percussionist and vocalist Sridar Parthasarathy that turns this into a ragified funk, undoubtedly unlike anything youвЂ™ve heard before toward the end.
On вЂњSpiceвЂќ Br ks introduces a piano that is classical played by Frank Martin to your mystical bowing of Indian violinist Kala Ramnath while the twangy sitar noises of Nildadri Kumar together with his very own tenor, creating an exotic blend that carries you to the mysterious world of the bazzar. Brilliant interplay by Fareed Haque on guitar and Swapan Chaudhuri on tabla along with SmithвЂ™s amazingly empathetic drumming completes this journey in to the depths with this far away land of antiquity and intrigue.
вЂњSilent Prayer-MadhuvantiвЂќ is a seductive melody that Br ks plays with a clean, affirmation of someone who’s comfortable in their own epidermis. Br ks make use of Haque is crisp and synchronous as the two play in the front of SmithвЂ™s ever increasingly driven back beat.
The most approachable track on the album is the powerful вЂњSpiritвЂќ. Br ks plays the repeating melody line with a bright, forthright attack on tenor. Breaking the tension produced by Br ks’ high-powered introduction, Haque softly presents a repeating guitar riff, accompanied by Martin on piano. The song reminds me personally a bit of Weather Report, sans the electronic devices, since it builds for a beat that is heavily driving straight down unerringly by Smith with Haque guitar and MartinвЂ™s associated piano chords. (Photo by Stuart Brinnin)
вЂњLalitaвЂќ features the eerie sounds regarding the bansuri, a w d instrument that is indian l ks and plays such as for instance a flute ( here played by Ronu Majumdar) blended with a haunting Indian vocal scat by feminine vocalist Hamiska Iyer. Br ks includes a Latin that is sensual inspired almost Gato Barberi type noise on this quantity. Combined with the rainfall forest flute-like noises regarding the bansuri makes this track a unique cross-cultural delight. A few brief pubs from SantanaвЂ™s вЂњBlack Magic WomanвЂќ during the coda emphasize the Latin influence.
вЂњSri RollinsвЂќ possesses beat that is calypso-like will pay homage to Sonny Rollins work with his classic Caribbean inspired вЂњSt. ThomasвЂќ . Br ks has consumed many styles into his repertoire and right here he shows just one more facet to their saxophone character. Haque similarly does some guitar that is nice ala Jim Hall.
вЂњPehkar for HamzaвЂќ is my cut that is favorite on record, as it produces an air of spirituality and l king that is extremely moving to behold. Here the great tabla player Zakir HussainвЂ™s wonderful and magical percussive skills are the perfect backdrop for the musings of KumarвЂ™s poignant sitar and Br ks saxophone that is mellifluous. HussainвЂ™s hand method is amazing and Smith truly finds it invigorating to play drums along side such a percussionist that is kinetic. I suggest closing your eyes, arriving the stereo or donning the headphones and just listen to this beautifully evocative little bit of music.
вЂњCastingвЂќ is the final song on the album while the only track that finds Br ks on soprano saxophone. This is certainly possibly the many age that is new song in the record. A sm th melodious tune that is quite simple listening and nice, but after the mesmerizing aftereffect of the aforementioned вЂњPehkar for HamzaвЂќ significantly of a let down for me being a finale.
All in all this is often a fine, well-played record that effectively bridges the gap between Indian music and jazz you might say perhaps not heard since John McLaughlinвЂ™s Shakti . Together with Summit group George Br ks could have found the perfect formula for melding mysticism with modernity.
Recorded Studio D , Sausalito, CA 2010 Musicians George Br ks (Saxophones); Fareed Haque (guitar); Kai Eckhardt (bass); Steve Smith (drums) with Kala Ramnath (violin); Niladri Kumar (sitar); Frank Martin (piano); Sridar Parthasarathy (mrdangam, ghatam, ka & vocals) track 1; Zakir Hussain (tabla) track 7; Celso Alberti (percussion) monitor 8; Swapan Chaudhuri (tabla) tracks 2 & 5,