The young Italian drummer Ananda Gari has been solidifying his credentials in some prestigious company. As part of the quartet Fool Circle, he recorded Moving Thoughts
(Rai TradeVideoradio, 2011) with pianist Stefano Battaglia
. With his brother, pianist Govinda Gari, he recorded Incipit
(Goodfellas, 2013) featuring saxophonist Mark Turner
. On T-Duality
his first outing as a leaderGari has surrounded himself with a cadre of downtown New York notables whose disregard of convention pushes his capabilities as both composer and drummer.
Joining Gari are saxophonist Tim Berne
and double-bassist Michael Formanek
, long-time collaborators whose work in Berne's cutting edge Bloodcount dates back almost twenty years. Guitarist Rez Abbasi
has also worked with Berne and Formanek as well as saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa
and pianist Vijay Iyer
. Though Gari's work with Battaglia and Turner had incorporated elements of free jazz, T-Duality
expands his depth with more complex polyrhythmic layers and intricate improvisations. Gari artfully adapts to the practiced dexterity of his veteran bandmates and the multifaceted time and space dimensions that the quantum physics-related album title implies.
There's a pattern in the first two tracks as they open and close in comparatively subdued fashion, bookending intense eruptions. A bit of symmetry between Berne and Abbasi opens "Trucks" but it very quickly gives way to a familiar and mercurial Berne outburst. The frenetic eruption however, doesn't portent the overall demeanor of the piece or the collection as a whole. Gari's work is cut out for him from the start as he deftly weaves through rapid fire time changes and free improvisation. "Never Late" begins with Gari's march-like pacing and a Formanek's solemn bowed bass and Abbasi offering complimentary single notes. Abbasi then goes free-form and the tempo gets feverish.
"Are You Kidding Me" features the hint of an abstracted Middle-Eastern theme though Berne and Gari quickly reset the piece to focus primarily on the abstractions. Berne again goes for the outer limits of his alto, swapping out improvisations with Abbasi, the two occasionally coming together, slowing the pace and then reigniting it. Working as a duo for several minutes, they elevate the pace and the level of tension making this one of the more interesting pieces in the collection. Not all the pieces on T-Duality
follow a volatile configuration; "Fields" is unforcedalmost leisurelyin its pace. Formenak plays in a rich low register with Berne contributing long fluid lines, a reminder of his more melodic capabilities.
Gariwho toured Italy with Abbasishares with him a fondness for Indian music, an influence on Gari as a composer. With T-Duality
he strikes a balance among ethnic inspiration, free jazz and modern composition. The musicians react to each other emphatically and Gari demonstrates his ability to be strikingly musical with the drum kit while skillfully driving and directing the complex pieces. T-Duality
is an ambitious and interesting first outing for Gari as a leader.
Trucks; Never Late; Are You Kidding Me (Intro); Are You Kidding Me; Fields; Last Drops; Don't Forget to Pet Your Cat.
Ananda Gari: drums; Tim Berne: saxophone; Rez Abbasi: guitar; Michael Formanek: bass.