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Charu Suri: The Book of Ragas Volume II


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Charu Suri: The Book of Ragas Volume II
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 artists—Jan 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 disc—to ears uninitiated to the music of Indian ragas—reveals 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.

Track Listing

Raga Jaunpuri (Late Morning); Asavari (Late Morning); Sankarabaranam (Morning); Aaj Rang Hai (Today There is Color).


Additional Instrumentation

Jesse Gerbasi: vibraphone.

Album information

Title: The Book of Ragas Volume II | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Amala Records


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