Thursday, March 13, 2008


This is an excerpt from a guitar improvisation played on the Godin freltess guitar. This thing plays like butter! I tracked one take and then had a musical conversation on another take with the first one. The great thing about this guitar is I can manage the subtle glissando & ornaments of Indian music as well as bring in a jazz sensibility to my phrases creating a composite phraseology.
photo by Jay Matsueda

The 6 string guitar on the right is what you're hearing (also played on Kafi Bund recording on the previous post below). The other guitar I playing in this shot is the Godin Glissintar (11 string fretless). I post some jams with this soon too.

This contemporary improvisation is based loosely on an simple North Indian afternoon raga which is basically a 5 note raga with an alternating 7th note. I am calling this Sarang but there is some debate between gharanas (schools of Indian music) for the name of this particular raga. Sarang is actually a family of afternoon ragas comprising a number of related ragas from which this is one of them. My guruji (Pt. Ravi Shankar) refers to this as Madhumat Sarang.

The arohi (ascent) & avarohi (descent) of this raga is.

Sa Re Ma Pa Ni Sa ~ Sa Ni Pa Ma Re Sa
1 2 4 5 7 1 1 b7 5 4 2 1


WARNING, this is ragarock music, listen at your own risk! This is not my mellow classical stuff ya'll. This grooves though, with solkattu (vocal percussion) interspersed. The initial rhythmic theme is based on a cycle of 16 divided 2 3 4 3 4.

Ta ka, Ta ki Ta, Ta ka di mi, Ta ki Ta, Ta ka di mi
(say this while clapping in 4 and you're glangin'!)

This track features: me on a Godin fretless electric guitar (yea the one in that picture to the right), Pete Jacobson on cello, Jonathan Dimond on bass, Abhijit Banerjee on tabla & Dave Lewis on drums... dijit!

Check out the live video of this tune on YouTube from Arohi concert, in Jan '08 at Bonsorte Studio in Santa Monica. We dedicated the piece to the late Dan Morris, who was an incredible creative drummer and friend since our Cal Arts days.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Kafi Bund

Check out this sitar/fretless guitar duet recorded in Calcutta, India in Feb '08.

This ragajazz jam in based loosely around Raga Kafi. When I was in Kolkata last month, there was a government strike (called bund... hence our title) so nobody could drive around the city, fortunately we we within walking distance of Resonance Studio so we went in, composed this piece and laid it down on the spot.

Indrajit Banerjee on sitar & myself on Godin fretless guitar... Enjoy!

Here's a bit of video from the warm up in the studio. The audio above is far superior for listening).

Check out Indrajit's website, a brilliant sitarist now on tour in USA with Gourisankar on tabla, we're looking forward to their spring concert in Los Angeles.

Monday, March 3, 2008

back intact from India

The India tour was a richly rewarding experience I had the opportunity to not only perform 6 concerts and record with some of the great musicians in Calcutta, but also conduct a 10 day world music synthesis course at the Rabindra Bharitya University with tabla wizard Abhijit Banerjee & Kenny Endo, Japanese American Taiko drummer. Each of us presented original compositions in the context of this crossover music workshop. The talented music students performed our pieces at the culminating concert incorporating harmony & counterpoint into a new piece based on Raga Charukeshi. I will post some video of this and other performances shortly and as well some audio excerpts from India.

Here's a link to the press from Telegraph newspaper in Calcutta.