Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana – Miren (A Longing) (CF 087)
Drummer/composer Ravish Momin has been searching for an identity as a leader since his days working with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre’s trio The Light. It would seem he has found a substantive part of that with his Trio Tarana, as their ethnic and world fusion concept meets the modern creative improvised world squarely. Sounds of the Balkan countries, the Far East, neo-classical chamber music and Africa are clearly heard, while Momin himself allows violinist San Bardfeld and oud player Brandon Terzic to take center stage. Rarely is Momin dominant in rhythmic insistence or colored timbres, whether playing the drum kit, cajon or talking drum. The sound they achieve collectively is quite arresting, and similar though more muted to several of the precedent setting New York City downtown bands like Matt Darriau’s Paradox, Brad Shepik’s Commuters and Slavic Soul Party. Bardfeld takes the lead for the most part out of the box on “Tehrah,” which is at once Mediterranean, gypsy folk-like, funky and replete in fractured multiple time signatures. In the complex 9/8 melody of “Miren” he adopts a stance akin to that of Leroy Jenkins, while “Ragalaya” hints at Indian music, but is more Middle Eastern in lengthy discourse from free and modal to atypically funky and tuneful. Terzic’s oud, mainly in a support mode throughout the CD, is in one instance, outright dirty, as if the strings are loosened to the max on the three bar modal blues “What Reward?” “Fiza” is a diffuse free floater with very few iconic phrases to glue it together, while a second version adds viola player Tanya Kalmanovitch during an up-and down chamber improv that is lively and brash. Momin certainly has emerged as a musical illustrator and theorist on this original program that is eminently listenable, and comes highly recommended.