New sounds in jazz often come from countries other than America, where the music was born. Antonio Carlos Jobim
and Joao Gilberto
introduced the lilting rhythms of Brazil; the prolific pianist/bandleader Satoko Fujii
brings an avant-Japanese frame of mind to the music, and .numerous Scandinavian artistsJan Garbarek
, Trygve Seim
, Tord Gustavsen
and the Marcin Wasilewski Trio
have introduced a Nordic cool sound.
And then there is India, bringing violinists Arun Ramamurthy
, Trina Basu
and cellist Amali Premawardhana
to mind, and pianist Charu Suri, presenting her The Book Of Ragas
(Amala Records, 2019), and now the followup: Book Of Ragas Volume II
Suri's music blends American jazz and Eastern India's ragas along with instrumental and Sufi vocal improvisations. A first spin of the discto ears uninitiated to the music of Indian ragasreveals sounds which seems as exotic as the Bossa Nova of Getz/Gilberto
(Verve) did back in 1964. It also, as did that Bossa Nova shot across our bow, presents an alternate universe beauty, vibrating with life and a sense of hopefulness.
These four tunes are "morning ragas," exploring different morning moods, translated to sound by Suri's piano work, Jesse Gerbasi
's vibraphone and Umer Piracha's Sufi vocals. The vibes in the mix enhance the morning aspect of the sound, a gorgeous smear of sunrise in the Eastern sky, tinting even the melancholic "Asvari" with an optimistic and ethereal backdrop.
A terrific follow-up to Suri's first effort in this genre, The Book Of Ragas
, this The Book Of Ragas Volume II
reaches even deeper into the pianist's Indian roots, revealing more layers, more intricacies of the music of India in a gorgeous infiltration of American jazz.
Raga Jaunpuri (Late Morning); Asavari (Late Morning); Sankarabaranam (Morning); Aaj Rang Hai (Today There is
Jesse Gerbasi: vibraphone.