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...
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