Tarun Balani Collective
We start with a jumpy piano intro; it could be a Charlie Brown holiday special, but soon we are relaxing on a floating cloud of cool jazz. We are kept aloft by wooden tick-tock sounds on a drum kit, a skeletal piano line, and a sort of stringed instrument, (perhaps a sarangi). Track two slows us down… imagine leaving the hectic pace of a race for the calm of a continental drift. You may not even be sure this cut has started; it begins in near silence and slowly builds to an ambiance suitable for a calm, cool and collected lounge.
There’s a good dose of classic modern jazz here, the sort you could peg precisely if you’ve been reading Down Beat since 1962. What’s exciting here is Mr. Balani’s interjection of Eastern sounds into this syncopation. It can be subtle, but mostly it slides us out of a clubby NYC scene, then jets us to Delhi. The transitions are surprisingly sublime. “The Other Side” sneaks up on you, and “Agaan” follows through only to return us to the American Tradition. While Balani’s two styles may at first seem disparate, or different, together they make a superbly smooth audio meld.