230

Shez Raja: Mystic Radikal

George Mitton By

Sign in to view read count
Shez Raja: Mystic Radikal Shez Raja has described his band's sound as "a real kaleidoscope," an idea reflected in Mystic Radikal's psychedelic cover art. Raja studied Indian classical tabla drumming with virtuoso Sharda Sahai, but now applies these rhythms to the electric bass. On the album there's a fusion of eastern sounds, with synthesizer drones used to reference the music of the Indian subcontinent. But there's also a riotous African influence on songs such as "Carnival of Colour," where violinist Pascal Roggen duels exuberantly with saxophonist Andy Sheppard.

Sheppard's appearance on three tracks is a particular treat. His assurance lends a note of maturity and precision whenever he appears, lifting the funky ballad "Infatuation" with a final solo, and sustaining the downbeat "Angel's Tears" with relaxed but incisive playing. A second special guest is trumpeter Claude Deppa, who enlivens three numbers including the album's title track and the African-influenced "Mandala Girl," complete with steel pan percussion from Mark Cherrie.

Throughout the album, Raja's electric bass underlines and informs the band's sound. At times inviting comparisons with Marcus Miller, he's fond of playing solo lines high up on the instrument and using effects for an enhanced, funky timbre. Raja has played in rock bands and accompanied hip hop artists, in addition to jazz work with Elephant Talk and Loka. He formed his collective—this is its third album—because he wanted to unite his diverse interests, which stretch to African, Latin and Eastern rhythms.

Mystic Radikal is an exciting mixture that's all the more enjoyable because the constituent elements never seem forced or unnatural in combination. It's a melting pot, but without the political connotations of cultural friction. This is fusion music at its most straightforward and entertaining.


Track Listing: Mystic Radikal; Chakras On the Wall; Karmic Flow; Infatuation; We Are One; Soho; Angel's Tears; Music For Elves; Carnival of Colours; Quiverwish; Mandala Girl; Beauty of the Beast.

Personnel: Shez Raja: bass guitar; Andy Sheppard: tenor and soprano saxophone (4, 7, 9); Claude Deppa: trumpet (1, 6, 11); Aaron Liddard: tenor saxophone, flute; Pascal Roggen: electric violin; Alex Stanford: keyboards; Chris Nickolls: drums; Monika Lidke: vocals; Mark Cherrie: steel pan, percussion.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: 33 Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Love Dance CD/LP/Track Review Love Dance
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Honest Woman CD/LP/Track Review Honest Woman
by James Nadal
Published: February 20, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read "The Frog, The Fish and The Whale" CD/LP/Track Review The Frog, The Fish and The Whale
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: September 24, 2016
Read "Positive Changes" CD/LP/Track Review Positive Changes
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 29, 2016
Read "Ariha Brass Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Ariha Brass Quartet
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 22, 2016
Read "Nexus" CD/LP/Track Review Nexus
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: June 1, 2016
Read "Joyride" CD/LP/Track Review Joyride
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "The Candy Men" CD/LP/Track Review The Candy Men
by Edward Blanco
Published: August 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!