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Keshav Batish: Binaries in Cycle

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Keshav Batish: Binaries in Cycle
Drummer Keshav Batish is a third-generation musician. His father, Pandit Ashwin Batish, is a sitar player well-versed in both Indian classical music and Western rock, while his grandfather, S. B. Batish, worked in the Bollywood film industry as a singer, composer and arranger. With that background, it is no surprise that Keshav would become a musician himself, embarking on a path which mixes the structures of Indian Hindustani music with the exuberance and freedom of jazz.

Batish's drumming uses intricate Indian rhythms as the basis for an explosive style which powers the intense playing of his quartet. Alto saxophonist Shay Salhov blows passionately while pianist Lucas Hahn digs in with dramatic phrases. Aron Caceres's throbbing bass lines serve as their connection to the leader's combustible playing. Their version of Ornette Coleman's "Police People" is really thrilling, with Salhov squeezing out high and bright lines like Coleman himself while Hahn strikes sharp chords and the rhythm section churns. "Let Go" builds from quiet piano and bass chords. Then the alto saxophone pipes up and the piano engages in an entrancing, seductive dance before Salhov comes back in hard and fast. "Count Me In" adds a funk beat as the alto saxophone and piano move in a more circular groove with Indian melodic ideas prominent in the saxophonist's sinewy playing.

"Wingspan" starts with the drums subtly pushing the beat. The piano jangles as the drum tempo increases, then careens wildly when the beat switches to a fast 4/4. The halting rhythm cycle at the heart of "Gayatri" is first played slowly, then repeated with increasing force and purpose. Eventually the melody ends up halfway between a march and a dance with Hahn pounding strongly over Batish's forceful patterns. The quartet's perky version of Thelonious Monk's "We See" is the closest the album comes to pure jazz and is highlighted by the leader's flashy soloing.

Keshav Batish's combination of musical styles adds style and dazzle to his drumming, and enlivens the work of his entire quartet. His slant on Indian and Western jazz fusion is a unique sound which makes for exciting music. This is Batish's debut recording and it will be interesting to see how he develops his ideas from here.

Track Listing

Binaries in Cycle; Count Me In; Let's Go; Police People; Wingspan; Gayatri; We See.

Personnel

Keshav Batish: drums; Shay Salhov: saxophone; Lucas Hahn: piano; Aron Caceres: bass, acoustic.

Album information

Title: Binaries in Cycle | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Self Produced

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