Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

111

Arun Ghosh: Primal Odyssey

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Primal Odyssey, the second album from British/Asian clarinetist and composer Arun Ghosh, is yet more evidence that the Northwest of England is a creative center for some of the most stylish contemporary jazz. Admittedly, Ghosh is now based in London, but the towns of his formative years must take some of the credit for nurturing and encouraging his talents. As a writer and performer, Ghosh is developing a formidable reputation, which this album can only enhance.

The influence of Ghosh's upbringing—"conceived in Calcutta, bred in Bolton, matured in Manchester," as he puts it—comes over strongly on Primal Odyssey's ten tunes. There are melodies, harmonies and rhythms from Bengal, the Middle East, Europe and North America: "Indo Jazz" goes some way to describing the sound of this album, but not all the way. Ghosh's writing, playing and choice of band lineup draw on a wide and eclectic mix of influences, where the sounds of Ornette Coleman or Charles Mingus sit shoulder-to-shoulder with Shakespeare's The Tempest and the work of actor Pete Postlethwaite.

The frontline of Ghosh's clarinet, tenor saxophonist Zoe & Idris Rahman and bass clarinetist Shabaka Hutchings works beautifully, a soulful and often haunting sound that can be romantic ("Eros"), joyous ("Damascus"), or even funky ("Lal Qil'ah (The Red Fort").

Ghosh's sinuous and flowing clarinet lines are a central focus, but it's often what goes on down in the basement that gives the music its depth and atmosphere. Hutchings and bassist Liran Donin (from Led Bib) are crucial to the creation of the set's many and varied musical moods. Hutchings' gently flowing rhythm gives the gorgeous "Nocturne (Chandra Dhun)" added strength and dignity, while the combination of bass clarinet and double bass adds an air of mystery to "Caliban's Revenge." When Donin moves to bass guitar, his partnership with drummer Pat Illingworth brings out the rockier edge of Ghosh's compositions.

The rather gynecological imagery of the inner sleeve art serves to emphasize the primal beginnings of Ghosh's odyssey, but the angel-like baby clarinetist on the front cover is more truly representative of this music. Mysterious, spiritual, hopeful and joyous by turns, Primal Odyssey is a superb and life-affirming work.

Track Listing: Caliban's Revenge; Unravel; Yerma; Lal Qil'ah (The Red Fort); Headrush; Intifada; Eros; Damascus; Icarus; Nocturne (Chandra Dhun).

Personnel: Arun Ghosh: clarinet; Idris Rahman: saxophone (1-9), clarinet (10); Shabaka Hutchings: bass clarinet; Liran Donin: double-bass (1-3, 5-7, 10), electric bass (4, 8, 9); Pat Illingworth: drums.

Title: Primal Odyssey | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Camoci Records

Tags

Watch

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Our Story Album Reviews
Our Story
By Troy Dostert
March 25, 2019
Read Influences Album Reviews
Influences
By Don Phipps
March 25, 2019
Read The Transitory Poems Album Reviews
The Transitory Poems
By Mark Corroto
March 25, 2019
Read Birckhead Album Reviews
Birckhead
By Mike Jurkovic
March 25, 2019
Read Live At Moods Album Reviews
Live At Moods
By Chris M. Slawecki
March 25, 2019
Read Live at Frankie's Jazz Club Album Reviews
Live at Frankie's Jazz Club
By Jack Bowers
March 24, 2019
Read Asperger Album Reviews
Asperger
By Don Phipps
March 24, 2019