Flowfish Rec. Larry Porter : Silk Road Blues (US,2010)****'
To some degree this album has something of a lost jazz/fusion album from the 60s or so, being respectful to jazz and using different instruments and different musical ideas to it with world fusion references. What is unusual in its nature is that one of its main instruments to make such jazz fusion possible is the Afghan rebab, not really an instrument which you expect too easily for jazz fusion. The rebab is a short-necked lute with 18 strings. It is very more or less associated with Afgan folk music. In 1976, (-from the time before the Taliban-dingdongs forbade with violence and force music and equal rights for women amongst other things-), Larry Porter had studied with Ustad Mohammad Omar in Kabul. Larry Porter is also known as a jazz pianist, and he has an attractive transprarent improvisational jazz style. He has released jazz and fusions albums before with fusions with Afgan and Indian music, often with either jazz or some folk element dominating. On this album he focused mainly on the fusion itself between Afgan music, and playing on the rebab, and American jazz. But of course also Indian raga has been used. I loved especially the adaptation of the raga element, taken over in the theme, after a jazz swing intro by the piano on “Todi in the groove". And there is also use of Indian tabla. Sometimes the rabab leads the tunes, in duet with the piano or with improvisation by the piano, in jazz style, or rebab style, or occasionally the theme is divided between the piano, rebab, sax and double bass, leaving space for a few lightly swinging solos. The music often is formed from melodic themes, a few times leaves a bit more free improvisation. A rewarding album to remembered. Should also be released on LP some day.
Larry Porter on rebab, piano, tamboura ; Scott White on bass (1,3,4,5,6,8,9,10,11), Heinrich Köbberling on drums (1,4,6,9,10,11), Solayman Alizo on tabla (3,5,8), David Beecroft on soprano & tenor sax (3,4,6,11), Stefan Jezierski on french horn (6), Barbara Sadowski on violin (6), Ori Kam on viola (6), Elena Drath on flute (8).
The band will tour in Germany and Europe in the fall of 2010 under the name ‘Silk Road Blues Project’ with Bene Jahnel on piano, Scott White on bass, Ulli Bartel on violin and mandolin and Yatziv Caspi on tabla and percussion.
The CD will be distributed by Groove distributions in the US and by Broken Silence in Europe.
East West Music Purvi Parikh, Girish Sanzgiri & Larry Porter Trio
featuring Paul Leake, Henning Sieverts : Rag Bagashree (D/IND,1992)***'
One of the finest releases I've heard from Larry Porter Trio is this unique concert of east/west fusion. It’s an improvisation in which two Indian classical music starting points can be recognised as a structure in medium 16 beats and another one with a fast 12 beats. The jazzy piano of Larry Porter starts the mood and sets the tone, with seemingly a harmonium drone in the background that creates a more jazzy mood. Purvi Parikh andGirish Sanzgiri are two Indian singers who were on tour at that time in Europe giving workshops in Indian classical music. At this instant meeting point both singers, -male and female-, in dialogue form, sing on top of the piano. Then the bass of Henning Sieverts joins in and the tabla by Paul Leake, building up a dialogue form with the piano until each participant sings and plays together, in a wonderfully build up communication. They deliberately change the speed a bit, followed by some piano, bass and tabla improvisation, and a conclusion with all participants. Then, an odd continuation as a seed comes out of the first theme, with a new change in direction and the second theme is developed. Here the rhythm of the tabla leads the cycle and the piano, bass, and vocal improvisations, follow this road, with some jazzy notes embedded, some repetition and its own suprising spontaneous freedom, all with some sense of humour. Half way through, the bass has a line to improvise a bit (with piano and tabla accompanying), until the whole piece ends and concludes very naturally. A very fine Indojazzblend recording !