It is a funny word, "lollipop." A melodious roll of the tongue terminated by two percussive "P" sounds separated by one puff of air, ended by another. A musical word, occasionally showing up as an integral part of a song: "Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows," Leslie Gore's 1963 pop hit; 1958's "Lollipop" by the Chordettes; 1956's "My Boy Lollipop" from Barbie Gayle; "My Girl Lollipop," a 1982 recording by the group Bad Manners; and not forgetting "On The Good Ship Lollipop," Shirley Temple's signature song from the 1934 movie Bright Eyes.
And now pianist Charu Suri titles her debut album, and the set's title tune, Lollipops For Breakfast, a tip of the hat to her daughter's request for an unconventional start-of-the-day meal. It is a tune that speaks to the child in us all. It is playful; it struts with a youthful glee; it boogie woogies with an insouciant elan. It is a first-rate jazz tune that doesn't take itself too seriously.
Suri's twenty-five minute, mostly originals piano-trio EP embraces a lot a moods, beginning with the Indian-tinged opener, "Raga Tala," that sounds timeless and rhythmically insistent; the melancholy "Ballad;" the spiritual "Brahma Vishnu Shiva," featuring flutist Crispian Fordham; the crisp, energetic "Make It Snappy."
Suri includes one standard on the set, Hoagy Carmichael's "The Nearness Of You," beautifully laid down, at a pace to be savored, followed by the closer, the lush and lighthearted "Swing," to wrap up this exceptionally fine debut.
The outcome of that provocative breakfast request? It remains uncertain.
Raga Tala; Lollipops for Breakfast; Ballad; Brahma Vishnu Shiva; Make it Snappy; The Nearness of You; Swing.
Charu Suri: piano; J. Brunka: bass; Jay O'Brien: drums; Crispian Fordham: flute (4).