Bhattacharya, Gronseth, Wessel: Bhattacharya/Gronseth/Wessel (pling)

 |   |  1 min read

Goodnight Irene
Bhattacharya, Gronseth, Wessel: Bhattacharya/Gronseth/Wessel (pling)

Many decades ago Elsewhere fell for the album Karuna Supreme by American saxophonist John Handy and tabla player Ali Akbar Khan, just another in a long line of jazz and Indian music crossovers which started in the mid Sixties with Ravi Shankar's Improvisations (an Essential Elsewhere album) and lead on to the Indo-Jazz Fusion albums by Joe Harriott and John Mayer.

Because both jazz and Indian music share the tradition of improvisation, it seems a natural pairing – as John Coltrane and many others discovered.

The issue each party might have is that most often where both jazz and Indian classical ragas can soar and be vigorously challenging – if not downright challenging to all parties playing – the music of many Indo-jazz albums most often errs to the reflective and meditative.

That was certainly true of Karuna Supreme.

And this still-delightful album by Indian slide guitar master (and Elsewhere favourite) Debashish Bhattacharya, Norwegian saxophonist Anders Lonne Gronseth and New York guitarist Kenny Wessel occupies much the same thoughtful territory.

Bhattacharya's seductively hypnotic sound on his 22-string instrument, Wessel's fluid tones and Gronseth's often featherweight sound are never less than enjoyable, engaging and sometimes ineffably, romantically evocative as they draw on raga, dhun (Indian folk), emotionally cool but melodically seductive Scandinavian jazz traditions and post-Wes Montgomery rounded guitar tones.

Interesting version of Goodnight Irene though. 

But – accompanied by Subhasis Bhattacharya, Debashish's brother on tabla and percussion -- this is an enjoyable album which only confirms the familiar rather than extends it.

For more on this album and others in the Norwegian label Pling's catalogue go here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Whitey Morgan and the 78's: Born, Raised and Live from Flint (Bloodshot/Southbound)

Whitey Morgan and the 78's: Born, Raised and Live from Flint (Bloodshot/Southbound)

If there's any honkytonk, rockin' country cliche missed by this post-Waylon longhair wildman, it's probably only the one about the dog up'n'dyin'. With his hard rockin' band recorded live... > Read more

Leafblade: The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh (KScope/Southbound)

Leafblade: The Kiss of Spirit and Flesh (KScope/Southbound)

Here are just a few reasons why many people quite rightly can't take the new era of prog-rock seriously: Two nouns ("leaf"+"blade") don't make a right and couplets like these... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is confronted by the work of painter Otto Dix

GUEST WRITER VIKY GARDEN is confronted by the work of painter Otto Dix

The paintings of Otto Dix are as unrelentingly abrasive as a mincing machine. It’s the kind of art you get when society is forced through a sieve then put under a microscope. It’s... > Read more

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ben Lemi of Congress of Animals

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Ben Lemi of Congress of Animals

The Congress of Animals is something of an alt.folk supergroup in that it includes Nigel Collins (Flight of the Conchords, Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra), Justin Firefly Clark (Fly My... > Read more