Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Bennett came our way back in 2013 with the album New York City Swara on which he played Indian raga pieces on piano. Which is odd, difficult and – when you think about microtones and drone -- all but impossible.
But Bennett was no dilettante or cultural appropriator: he had studied in Mumbai and the album (with tamboura, tabla, melodica and violin) was remarkable given the limitations of piano in this context as we noted,
Although we learned he had also played in New Orleans bands and with Greek musicians and so on.
So Bennett was someone with something inclusive and interesting going on.
Anyway, we have always made the time to listen to his innovative and often daring work jazz-cum-elsewhere albums and have posted reviews and overviews of what he's been doing since that first aural encounter.
This Elsewhere Art – which makes sense, follow me here – accompanied an overview of a couple of his recent albums in late 2017, one of which was Experiments in Truth which opened with his exploration of my favourite raga, Raga Malkauns (an evening raga).
In recent years the idea of ragas on piano has become more common but – outside of some pretty obscure Indian musicians – it has been rare and, aside from Vijay Iyer and Oded Tzur, from this perspective Bennett has been a rare one. Which is why we here will always listen.
To explain the art then . . . which makes sense to me.
Given the Indo-jazz connection I thought peacocks are always exotic and suggest to me India, but of course Bennett is a pianist so I went back to my much earlier Brubeck collage for the idea of the multiple glasses image (tellingly though, Brubeck looked west and Bennett here looks east).
And, because he had studied in Mumbai, I included an image of Gandhi because I had just been to the house where Gandhi-ji lived in when he was in Mumbai.
So the image may look simple but – as with Richard X Bennett's music – it was actually quite loaded with various meanings.
And I always like peacocks – except the annoying cries they make – and so I used them once more when I did some art to accompany a piece on John Mclaughlin!
I refer to my own work?
But who doing creative stuff for their own sake doesn't?
For other Art by Elsewhere go here.