Shiva Nova

LABELS: Shiva Nova
WORKS: Urban Mantras
PERFORMER: Priti Paintal (p, kbds), Jesse Bannister (ss, ts), Rowland Sutherland (f), Kousik Dutta (tabla), Partho Das (sitar), Mukesh Sharma (sarod), Surjit Singh (sarangi), Kiranpal Singh (santoor), Prakash (mridangam)
CATALOGUE NO: SNPP 0110 (distr. tel 01580 764258)
When jazz crosses over, it is usually into Africa and back to its roots. But Indian music holds a fascination for improvisers, too. An entirely different universe of stringed instruments and percussion combined with a musical conception grounded in spiritualism has appealed to players from John Coltrane to John McLaughlin. Now, Indian musicians such as L Shankar, Nitin Sawhney and Trilok Gurtu are reversing the flow of creativity by playing their music, blown with Western influences. If it has to be pigeon-holed, Shiva Nova occupies the ‘ambient’ channel, though the swirling sound has more depth than most drum and bass merchants can muster. Flute, sax and piano (played sparingly by leader Priti Paintal) sit well with the bowed sarangi and zither-like santoor; the clacking clarity of the tabla and the ringing strings of the sarod add kinetic energy to an otherwise transcendental experience. Urban Mantras will do little for purists, but anyone looking for a subtle Eastern groove with sophisticated technique will find it here. Garry Booth