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Tenor saxophonist George Brooks equalizes the union of Indian classical music and jazz, abetted by an all-universe rhythm section and East Indian instrumentalists. With Spirit and Spice, Brooks projects a distinct voice as he poignantly merges the core attributes of both genres, and it's a happy marriage, indeed.
Brooks' authoritative presence looms on high-impact funk, and thrusting Indo-fusion pieces. On "Spirit," the saxophonist's yearning lines are designed with positive implications atop bassist Kai Eckhardt's resonating harmonics and pianist Frank Martin's supple voicings. Brooks quietly projects a memorable melody that he incorporates into a pungent bridge section, as drummer Steve Smith elevates the pitch with polyrhythmic pulses. Brooks' soul-drenched notes serve as the underlying context for Martin and guitarist Fareed Haque's darting solos, via a gradual shift of momentum back to the primary theme. "Spirit" is one of numerous highlights on this beguiling studio date.
Personnel: George Brooks: saxophones; Fareed Haque: guitar; Kai Eckhardt: bass; Steve Smith: drums, konnakol; Niladri Kumar: sitar; Frank Martin: piano; Swapan Chaudhuri: tabla; Kala Ramnath: violin.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.