Sunday, March 20, 2011

Vijay Iyer, Prasanna and Nitin Mitta - Tirtha (ACT Music, 2011)

The interaction between jazz and the music of the Indian sub-continent has been percolating for some time now, since John Coltrane's professed admiration for the music of Ravi Shankar and Miles Davis incorporation of Indian instruments into his 1970's electric fusion bands. This group brings together three of the most talented Indian-American musicians on the contemporary music scene, with Vijay Iyer on piano, Prasanna on guitar and Nitin Mitta on tablas. The music that they combine to make is deeply rhythmic and often complex while remaining enjoyable and accessible. Piano and percussion bubble and fade sometimes leading sometimes accompanying but always interacting in new and interesting ways. Prasanna's guitar slides in between the two percussive instruments, either in a subtle glide, or a Hendrix/Sharrock style crunch. This was a very interesting album that sounds like nothing else out right now. By taking an open ended approach to blending culture and improvisation, the musicians have yet another way to expand the horizons of jazz. Tirtha -

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