Support All About Jazz

All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.


I want to help
133

Sunny Jain Collective: As Is

Celeste Sunderland By

Sign in to view read count
Sunny Jain Collective: As Is Dusty streets. Delicate whispers of silk against skin. Caravans slowly crossing the desert sands. The opening bars of the Sunny Jain Collective's debut disc As Is conjure mysterious, exotic visions. But soon the melody of the traditional Indian song "Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram" gets whisked away into lands pioneered by the giants of American jazz.

Composed of Jain on drums, Steve Welsh on tenor saxophone and effects, Rez Abbasi on guitar and sitar, and Gary Wang on acoustic bass, the Collective honors Jain's Indian heritage while expanding the breadth of jazz. Using modern effects, the characteristically Indian sitar, and hints of traditional ragas, the group fuses the future to the past.

Much of the album layers texturous beats beneath stately solos. As the second track "Horizontal Pathway" comes to an end, Jain's steady drums and Abbasi's three chord guitar progression clench to counter Welsh's wiry, reverberating, metallic effects. The resulting soundscape transcends the traditional quintet format and ventures into modern techno pop.

Most of America grew accustomed to the sound of the sitar from George Harrison's use of the instrument in the late ‘60s on songs like "Norwegian Wood". Abbasi's sitar playing is not as obvious. He makes use of the instrument's subtler charms. Instead of relying on drawn out, bent notes, Abbasi creates clear, fluid solos reminiscent of some of Pat Metheny's midi sitar sounds. The guitarist complements the group quite well. On "Mango Festival" he sneaks in with clever, glistening notes that flow into a dream-like solo. The guitar drifts between Welsh's Indian melody, and Jain's pared-down, tabla inspired drum beat.

The group plays a futuristic adaptation of the Wayne Shorter tune "Masqualero." A drum and bass beat that ventures into hip-hop holds the wayward sound together to create a lush framework around the liquidy, psychedelic sitar and eerie, singing effects.

The closing track, "Aap Jaisa Koi," a disco number from the 1981 film Qurbani, provides a taste of modern Indian culture. Jain and Wang's vigorous rhythm, together with Abbasi and Welsh's spirited melody, carry us off into a land of resplendent spires and humbling Himalayas.


Track Listing: 1. Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram 2. Horizontal Pathway 3. As Is 4. Masqualero 5. Longing To Know 6. Blu Vindaloo 7. Mango Festival 8. MTA 9. Aap Jaisa Koi

Personnel: Sunny Jain: drums; Rez Abbasi: guitar/sitar guitar; Gary Wang: acoustic bass; Steve Welsh: tenor saxophone/effects

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: NCM East | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Avaaz by Ernest Barteldes
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
  • As Is by Celeste Sunderland
  • As Is by Glenn Astarita
Read more articles
Avaaz
Avaaz
Sinj Records
2006
buy
As Is
As Is
NCM East
2003
buy
As Is
As Is
Independent Records
2002
buy
Vijay Iyer Vijay Iyer
piano
Mark Egan Mark Egan
bass
Lionel Loueke Lionel Loueke
guitar
Rez Abbasi Rez Abbasi
guitar
Jason Miles Jason Miles
keyboard
George Colligan George Colligan
keyboard
Myron Walden Myron Walden
saxophone
Andy Narell Andy Narell
percussion
Matthew Garrison Matthew Garrison
bass, electric

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.