On his CD Lasting Impression, Brooks' devotion to jazz, blues, and Indian music comes across loud and clear. With "Taj Express," the CD's opening cut, Brooks blows warm and resonating tones over a backdrop of stinging syncopation. Brooks and his all-star band play with ease in the song's odd-metered choruses and post-bop inspired heads. As with the rest of the songs on the album, Brooks and friends make the complicated passages of "Taj Express" fly by without the slightest hint of strain.
Saxophonist George Brooks is an eclectic and genre-crossing instrumentalist with a bent toward mixing jazz fusion and Indian classical music. Born in New York City, Brooks studied with saxophonist Frank Foster before earning his Bachelor of Music from the New England Conservatory of Music. Beginning in the 1980s, Brooks developed an interest in Indian classical music and even traveled several times to study with master Hindustani vocalist and teacher Pandit Pran Nath.
The music of the Raga Bop Trio is an organic blend of jazz, rock, funk, afro-caribbean and Indian classical music. In this music there is the strong influence of western harmony and melody as well as U.S. grooves and Euro-jazz atmospheric feels. From the Indian side, George Brooks brings his expertise in north Indian Hindustani music and Prasanna - being from Chennai, India - is an expert in south Indian Carnatic music. I grew up with the U.S. jazz/groove concept and starting in 2002 I’ve incorporated north and south Indian rhythms into my playing. For me, the distinctive quality of the Raga Bop Trio is that the writing and playing employ a seamless amalgamation of all the individual components.
Ukrainian pianist and composer Misha Alperin joins forces for the first time in session with British reedist John Surman (a last-minute replacement for Tore Brunborg) in this melodious, spontaneous set. Augmented by Arkady Shilkloper on French horn and flugelhorn, Terje Gewelt on bass, and Jon Christensen on drums, their hypnotic nexus breathes ounces of thematic life into the “Overture” in watery, stepwise motion. Surman’s reptilian soprano takes us in some unexpected directions throughout a holistic introduction, while his unmistakable baritone threads resilient cables through “Twilight house” and “City Dance.” The first of these is where the session truly comes to life through his interactions with Alperin, while the latter serves a touch of groove in a veritable trill buffet (think Snakeoil). “Movement” features classical percussionist Hans-Kristian Kjos Sørensen (heard previously on No Birch) in a spindly improv, the pointillism and melancholy draw of which only thinly veil its composed undercurrent. A lovely solo from Shilkloper on French horn rises like a paper lantern lit and offered to the sky.