Trilok Gurtu
Spellbound
SSC1355
2013-06-04
 Spellbound by Trilok Gurtu cover

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Track List: listen

Improvisation live: Don Cherry & Trilok Gurtu - 00:33
Manteca - 04:36
Jack Johnson / Black Satin - 09:38
Cuckoo - 04:56
Berchidda - 05:36
Like Popcorn - 04:25
Haunting - 05:16
Universal Mother - 06:30
Spellbound - 04:32
All Blues - 06:41
Cosmic Roundabout / Brown Rice - 04:39
Thank you Don Cherry - 00:15

 

Musicians:
Hasan Gözetlik - trumpet
Trilok Gurtu - drums, percussion, vocals, keyboards
Tulug Tirpan - keyboards
Jonathan Cuniado - bass
Nitin Shankar - percussion
Nils Petter Molvaer - trumpet
Trilok Gurtu - tabla, tumbura
Carlo Cantini - keyboards
Paolo Fresu - trumpet
Matthias Schriefl - trumpet
Nitin Shankar - percussion
Matthias Höfs - trumpet
Helene Traub - english horn
Jakob Janeschitz-Kreigel - cello
Ambrose Akinmusire - trumpet

Two short snippets recorded live with Don Cherry bookend Trilok Gurtu’s album Spellbound: a 33-second improvisation in a duo with Cherry on trumpet and Gurtu - heard on a custom drumset - introduces the new CD by the Indian percussionist, while a brief “Thank you, thank you very much” from Cherry for the applause of the audience closes the album.

Even though the other pieces on Spellbound do not feature this jazz legend, who died in Malaga in Spain in 1995, every single sound on the CD is an expression of Trilok Gurtu’s great admiration for the man and musician, Don Cherry. After all, it was the American trumpeter who in the first half of the 1970s encouraged the young percussionist, freshly arrived from his homeland of India, to pursue his vision of an intuitive music, open and embracing the world.

On every track on Spellbound, Trilok Gurtu has turned to the instrument that Cherry played: the trumpet. The instrument has practically become a symbol for Gurtu’s own musical vision. In its variety, the trumpet has found a place in countless cultural circles around the world and has become an essential element in many musical styles. The trumpet plays an important role in classical, pop, world and, of course, jazz music.

Spellbound is by no means a typical album for the percussionist, born in 1951 in Bombay (today Mumbai), India. After a long time, Trilok Gurtu has returned to improvised music, though all his life the concept of “jazz” has always been far too restrictive. But, just like his one-time mentor and friend Don Cherry, with whom Gurtu started playing just a few years after their first encounter in Italy, Gurtu is not concerned with style boundaries. For Gurtu jazz has become an attitude, which has made it possible for him to overcome the boundaries between styles and genres.

With Spellbound, Gurtu has once again underlined the fact that jazz still forms the basis for his musical oeuvre. With his band, he has taken a surprising leap into the history of swing music in the USA and also played pieces by genre defining trumpeters who have long been a part of the jazz canon: Dizzy Gillespie’s Afro-Cuban classic “Manteca,” a tribute to the extraordinary fusion sound of Miles Davis from the 1970s with “Jack Johnson/Black Saint,” as well as Davis’s “All Blues” from the masterpiece Kind Of Blue and, of course, Don Cherry’s “Universal Mother,” with its genre-crossing flow. The music on the album has succeeded in something that has become increasingly rare, it has built a bridge between the continents and cultures.

This became clear with the line-up of trumpeters he invited to collaborate in the recording. The Norwegian Nils Petter Molvær, who, like no other European trumpeter, has translated the seething funk-rock mixture of a Miles Davis from the early 1970s into the expression of European improvised music or the Italian Paolo Fresu, who has always managed to transform the melodious, hot-blooded temperament of his homeland into a cool sound design. The multi-talented German Matthias Schriefl, whose youthful impetuosity has stretched Gurtu’s music beyond the boundaries of tonality. Also included was Ibrahim Maalouf, a native of Lebanon living in France, who has played the melisma of Arabic musical culture on his unusual quarter-tone trumpet, as well as Hasan Gözetlik from Turkey, who transferred the emotionality-increasing microtonality of the folklore of his homeland to contemporary music.

A tremendous example of Trilok Gurtu’s vision of a world music “without borders” was created with his unique version of Miles Davis’s “All Blues.” Gurtu mixed cultures in passing, including a 5/4 time unusual for the jazz classic, which helped Gurtu and his band generate a link to the rhythmic consciousness of his homeland, India. With his scintillatingly phrased solo, the young US trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire took the succinct riff theme back to its origins in the USA and, with a bow to the great musical history of Europe, the classical trumpet virtuoso Matthias Höfs from Hamburg brought this Miles Davis classic to finale. Trilok Gurtu’s music has created an equilateral triangle, with musical and cultural corners pointing to India, America, and Europe.

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