Saturday, October 12, 2013

Tarun Balani Collective Small World 2013

Sacred World is that rare recording that is not only the harmonious fusion of cultures but of genres both old and new!
Brent Black / @CriticalJazz

Can I be honest? I like Indian music. I like American jazz but much like old and water they don't seem to find that harmonic synergy, till now. Having reviewed some releases of similar description and with most epic failures, I came into this with some ill founded preconceived ideas and next to running out of coffee this would be the worst thing a critic could do. 27 year old Tarun Balani's debut recording showcases the vision and compositional brilliance that is all to seldom found when attempting to build the sonic bridges that others have fallen short on so many times before.

Diverse instrumentation including the sarangi and deconstructed vocals of Suhail Yusuf Khan's  embrace this truly unique color palette and begin to set this release apart from the pack almost immediately. Balani is a lyrical drummer that swings with finesse while rolling the rhythmic nuances between cultures with the ease and maturity of an artist twice his age. Sharik Hasan is an open ended and incredibly fearless pianist whose technical skills are also charting a new harmonic direction in this most unlikely of ensembles. Bassist Bruno Raberg plays with a quiet sense of urgency adding yet another layer to this incredible tapestry while guitarist Aditya Balani has an eerie almost Pat Metheny like quality to his performance.

Unlike similar recording there is no harmonic disconnect here, Sacred World transcends genres and smashes cultural barriers into a breathtaking presentation that is perhaps best describes as a mosaic of melodic wonder. An incredibly impressive debut release that does exactly what the first recording should do for any artist, leave them wanting more!

Tracks: Belief; The Other Side; Azaan; Pictures; Sacred World; Varsha; Arjuna; Arjuna Reprise.

Personnel: Tarun Balani: Drums; Suhail Yusuf Khan: Sarangi & Vocals; Sharik Hasan: Piano; Aditya Balani: Guitars; Bruno Raberg: Bass.