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Badal Roy / Perry Robinson / Ed Schuller: Raga Roni (2002)

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Badal Roy / Perry Robinson / Ed Schuller: Raga Roni No stars How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

When jazz listeners think of the tablas, only a few players immediately come to mind—Badal Roy, Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain
b.1951
percussion
, and possibly the late Collin Walcott (from the group Oregon). Of them, Roy's resumé within jazz circles is certainly the most significant, with timeless contributions to the groups and recordings of Miles Davis
Miles Davis
Miles Davis
1926 - 1991
trumpet
(e.g. On The Corner, Big Fun ), fellow Miles band mate Dave Liebman
Dave Liebman
Dave Liebman
b.1946
saxophone
, Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
b.1930
sax, alto
's Prime Time, Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
Pharoah Sanders
b.1940
saxophone
, and clarinetist Perry Robinson
Perry Robinson
Perry Robinson
b.1938
clarinet
, who was actually one of the first musicians Roy ran into during the late '60s after emigrating from his native Pakistan.

Roy's self-released Raga Roni, with Robinson and bassist Ed Schuller

, was recorded not too long after the trio's memorable week-after-9/11 gig at the Cornelia Street Café. The tablaist treats both his tablas more like a drum kit and even percussion set than is commonly found in the more traditional manner of tabla playing. At times the session recalls Tony Scott's Eastern-influenced recordings, though the music truly crosses all music borders with Roy and Schuller's consistent funky bass lines and Robinson's occasional Jimmy Giuffre
Jimmy Giuffre
Jimmy Giuffre
1921 - 2008
clarinet
-inspired folksy mid-range playing as well as Klezmer-rooted blowing and general mastery of all ranges.

"Mountain Soup," in particular, is a splendid Eastern-influenced take on Giuffre's "Train and The River." Schuller's pizzicato contributions (of the famed Schuller family—Third Stream pioneer Gunther being his father, and very active East Coast drummer George his elder brother) complement Roy's bass tabla in an echoing fashion, while his arco playing likewise resonates the trio's meditative tones. Dave Baker, the mastermind who documented the outstanding Roy-Perry Robinson-Nana Vasconcelos collaboration from the late '70s, Kundalini (IAI, 1978), exquisitely recorded this session at Roy's home in Jersey. And with it, Raga Roni represents another chapter in jazz-inspired universal music.

This review first appeared in the August 2002 issue of All About Jazz: New York.


Track Listing: Prelude; Mountain Soup; Harem Dance; Tale of the Trolls; Interlude Jam; Touch of the Strange; Ladab Ladoo; Raga Roni; 'Nuff Said.

Personnel: Badal Roy: tabla; Perry Robinson: clarinet; Ed Schuller: bass.

Record Label: Geeta

Style: Modern Jazz


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