5

Rajiv Jayaweera: Pistils

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Rajiv Jayaweera: Pistils
While London-born, Melbourne-reared, New York-based drummer Rajiv Jayaweera's work is naturally colored by his experiences spanning those points on the map, it's his Sri Lankan heritage that most greatly informs and influences this debut. Drawing inspiration from memories of nature, sounds and scents surrounding his grandparents' garden there, Jayaweera creates a musical sanctuary and wonderland painted in vivid colors.

Pistils, a title referencing the seed-bearing, reproductive portion of a flower, plays on blooming beauty at its first glances and in its final form. Opening and closing with different versions of the title track—the former featuring guest vocalist Lara Bello's enchantments, the latter saxophonist Chris Cheek's mellifluous lines—Jayaweera uses rubato fantasies to bookend his vision. The tracks between the "Pistils" prove just as meaningful and fascinating in their unfolding of grace. "Ellstandissa," starting on a solo performance of the Thammattama drum(s) and working with a more direct rhythmic thrust, deals with cycling melodic ideals and dancing time. "Welikadawatte," nodding to a region in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where Jayaweera's grandparents lived for four decades, rides on a Vernel Fournier-esque groove and a sweeping current. "Galadari," a gorgeously dizzying latticework, proves to be a showcase for serious solo work. And "Nilus," with its slow, stately stride, speaks in measured yet decorative language.

Jayaweera's creative gifts with pen and sticks are apparent over the course of the first half of the album, but so, too, are his gifts in personnel selection. With Cheek, pianist Aaron Parks, guitarist Hugh Stuckey and bassist Sam Anning filling out the ranks, the drummer is never short on unique and pliant personalities. The remaining material simply furthers that fact. There's "The Elephant," evoking images of a pachyderm making its way across the jungle; "Hirimbura," a swinging geographical beacon pointing to Jayaweera's grandfather's hometown; and "Malkoha Bird," which finds Cheek moving to soprano to best reflect the song and shining spirit of one of Sri Lanka's feathered friends.

While drummer-composers often feel a need to make their mark through a show of force, Jayaweera takes a more fanciful approach. Preferring blossoming expressions over bombast, he separates himself from the pack with Pistils.

Track Listing

Pistils; Ellstandissa; Welikadawatte; Galadari; Nilus; The Elephant; Hirimbura; Malkoha Bird; Pistils.

Personnel

Rajiv Jayaweera: drums; Chris Cheek: saxophone; Aaron Parks: piano; Hugh Stuckey: guitar; Sam Anning: bass; Lara Bello: voice / vocals.

Album information

Title: Pistils | Year Released: 2020 | Record Label: Outside in Music

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Earth
Earth
Dave Liebman
Read Urban(e)
Urban(e)
Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra
Read Hiding Place
Hiding Place
Mark Murphy, Folk Artist
Read The Truce
The Truce
Markus Reuter
Read Data Lords
Data Lords
Maria Schneider Orchestra
Read In Igma
In Igma
Pedro Melo Alves
Read Blood Moon
Blood Moon
Ingrid Laubrock + Kris Davis

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.