With track titles such as ‘Red Sea’, ‘Railway Dreams’, ‘Basant’, ‘Macondo’ and ‘Fronteras’, it’s no surprise that ‘Songs for a Global Journey’ was ‘intended to inspire in us a zest for voyaging’. With a willingness to embrace time and place, through tablas, sarod, saxophone, acoustic guitar and electric bass, there is a very conscious effort to present a reflection, a snapshot, of the modern British experience with its wide horizons.
Samay is Jesse Bannister (UK) on saxophone, Giuliano Modarelli (Italy) on guitar, Bhupinder Singh Chaggar (India, Punjab) on tabla, Soumik Datta (India, Bengal) on sarod and Javier Geras (Spain) on bass and they are imbued with a strong footing in Indian classical music through maestros Sharda Saha, Buddhadev Das Gupta, L. Subramanian, J. Bose, Ajoy Chakraborty and Shashank Parvez to name a few.
The lilting yet heroic ‘In and Out’ is a fine example of the organic and contemporary spin they have on Indian classical techniques and forms. It’s short and yet there is a strong sense of movement and development with some arresting saxophone midway through.
‘Tuesday’, featuring some highly polished performances from Javier and Guiliano is heard with subtle adornments – rolling organs and percussive flourishes – to give a catchy and engaging listen. The remaining twelve short tracks are explored and extrapolated on through many a lyrical theme. It’s a dynamic dance between jazz, samba, flamenco and soul, heard alongside echoes of reggae, hip-hop and chill-out in a vibrant set of intoxicating grooves.
Bhupinder and Javier play sensitively while Jesse, following on from such pioneers as Kadri Gopalnath and his disciple Radhakrishnan (and through his own technical mastery), is able to combine elegantly with the stylish playing of Soumik – who plays deftly and sparingly throughout. Guiliano is a well-rounded player able to add much weight to the compositions and tie it all together. Overall however, it may perhaps be little more than integral to a larger scene, despite its own (deserved) merits.