New York based drummer/composer Sunny Jain has garnered a few awards in his day to complement his degrees, academic positions, performances and so on. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the young artist brings quite a bit to the forefront, witnessed on his impressive debut. Jain receives excellent support from the increasingly prolific guitarist Rez Abbasi who also employs a sitar guitar to great effect. Meanwhile saxophonist Steve Walsh and the guitarist attain an obvious comfort zone as they harmonize a multitude of memorably melodic themes in concert with a jazzy edge. They render a stewing jazz waltz groove on the opener, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram,” yet part of the excitement resides within Abbasi’s fleet fingered picking on the sitar guitar. Here, Abbasi melds East Indian modal characteristics with Walsh’s airy choruses and Jain’s rumbling tom fills during the intro and coda. In addition, bassist Gary Wang handles the bottom end with thumping patterns and sinuous lines, throughout.
Walsh and Abbasi engage in some cleverly articulated contrapuntal maneuvers during “As Is” – to coincide with a peppery ostinato vamp, and Jain’s straight four beats. Abbasi seemingly tears his sitar guitar to shreds on “Masqualero,” whereas the band pursues a cool, sleek mid-tempo swing amid temperately executed Bop lines on “Blu Vindaloo.” Essentially, there’s an abundance of novel ideas floating around, as Jain shines forth as a significant composer. Recommended...
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone
Jazz and the blues--because together this musical brother and sister speak from our nation's days of the current cultural affairs and the authenticity and truth of a place where the rhythms held the pulse and the drums the heartbeat, representing every step closer the meat on the bone. Feet in the dirt, or barefoot on a stage with sequins--it's soul beats in my chest.
I was first exposed to jazz while others listened to surf music in the '50s and '60s, it was Monk, Miles, Satchmo and Ella, Rosemary Clooney and Julie London followed. Margaret Whiting, Les McCann, Willie Bobo, Andy Simpkins, Snooky Young, Bill Basie and Helen Humes. The first time I heard Topsy, Take 2, I about passed out at the age of ten.
I've hung with Les McCann who more than 30 years after our first meeting became my duet partner on my CD, Don't Go To Strangers. Karen Hernandez from the start, Jack Le Compte on drums, Lou Shoch on bass, Steve Rawlins as my arranger and pianist, Grant Geissman - guitar genius, Nolan Shaheed, Richard Simon, and more. The big boys. My Red Hot Papas. The best show I ever attended was...
I met Helen Humes first back in 1981 and helped turn one Playboy Jazz Festival night into her tribute, bring the Basie Band to stage, her joy boys. Before she took the stage for the last time to sing, If I could Be With You One Hour Tonight thousands of copies of the newspaper I wrote for carried her story. It was kismet, her being held by Joe Williams backstage. Soon in my life were the great Linda Hopkins who told me I sang the song she wrote better than her, which floored me of course, the energizing Barbara Morrison and the stellar Marilyn Maye who guided me professionally.
My advice to new listeners... let your backbone slip and feel your body stripping back the barriers that prevent us from being one with the music.
Remember none of us are strangers, we just haven't met yet.