“Indian Express and Mani & Co. represent the 2nd and 4th LP’s recorded by Indian Violinist L. Subramaniam, originally released in 1984 & 1985 respectively. In the liners Dr. Subramaniam asserts that this music could be called “Neo-Fusion” for blending elements of Indian, European and North American compositional form. The supporting cast reads as a Who’s Who in fusion and contemporary jazz for that time period.
While listening to this reissue it is interesting to note how Subramaniam utilized various electronics or synthesizer apparatuses for various effect. Not overbearing or exceedingly noticeable but successively employed for nuance and intonation. The musically challenging “Flight Of The Bumble Bee” is a highlight. Subramaniam puts forth an astonishing display of virtuosity and artistry that is flat out awe inspiring. “Super Instinct” and “Memories of Jaffna” feature Trumpeter and king of the high C’s Maynard Ferguson. These tracks while pleasant listening seem dated and somewhat corny by today’s standards. Ferguson frequently took it on the chin in those days for his Pop and Fusion endeavors but these tracks do not deter from the predominately good material throughout this reissue. “Indian Express” features some super fast picking from Bassist Stanley Clarke and solid 4/4 drumming from The Crusader’s Stix Hooper. On “Indian Express” the saxophonist Steve Tavaglione t! akes a brief solo on the “Steinerphone” perhaps a cousin of the “EWI” or “Lyricon” which are electronic saxophone instruments. “Grasshopper” is a melodic piece featuring flutist Hubert Laws. This tune sounds like a pseudo-Scottish jig. Again, Subramaniam is in top form with his impeccable execution and keen melodic ear.
With this reissue, Milestone Records remind us that there are still a few gems hanging in the vaults from the mid-1980’s time period. Subramaniam’s flawless technique and cordial songwriting serve as fitting testaments to good music that may have been overshadowed by the changing times.
Personnel Includes: Stanley Clarke: Bass; Larry Coryell: Guitar; Maynard Ferguson: Trumpet; Stix Hooper: Drums; Hubert Laws: Flute; Bud Shank: Flute; Jorge Strunz: Guitar; Tony Williams: Drums
I love jazz because it is both challenging and exhilarating, and the endeavor of improvisation is the highest form of art.
I met so many great musicians--including my two earliest heroes, Maynard Ferguson and Dizzy Gillespie--by attending concerts
and being willing to treat them with the respect they deserve.
The best show I ever attended was the Pat Metheny/Ornette Coleman Song X concert at Cornell University.
The first jazz record I bought was an RCA compilation by Dizzy Gillespie.
My advice to new listeners is to not be afraid to listen to something because you're not familiar with the artists or the band or
the genre or anything - this is music that is best experienced through discovery.