Monday November 4, 2013
Matters of the Heart (Sandeep Chowta)
Matters of the Heart and Angels in the Desert are pleasantly lounge’ish and ride on Naveen and Dave Valentin’s fascinating flute, respectively, besides Tom Schuman’s piano in the latter. The melody in Close Your Eyes is enchanting, made better by Pt. Vishwa Mohan Bhatt’s Mohan Veena joining Russel Ferrante’s piano and topped with William Kennedy drums in the end. Red Drops of Love and Soltude bring back memories of Joao Gilberto, with Dave Grusin’s piano having a splendid time with Ricardo Silveira on the guitar in the former, and Rocardo having a free run in the latter!
Jay Beckenstein’s sax or Lee Ritenour and Chuck Loeb’s guitar? It’s tough to pick the highlight in No Degrees of Separation, while Your Temperature Takes Me Places seems to evoke the same aura as George Michael’s Cowboys And Angels. Dichotomy Love, the longest song of the album is Deepak Pandit (violin) and Frank Gambale’s (guitar) show all the way. Sandeep’s Tribute to Michael Brecker has fantastic sax by Eric Marienthal, backed by superb keyboard by Mitch Forman. Mitch is amazing in Love is on the Run as well, collaborating with Miriam Stockley’s vocals, while Tom’s piano is spellbinding in Akira.
Amy! You Never Let Go has a killer guitar solo by Frank, while the four guitar players in Happiness is a Chemical Reaction produce consistently mesmerizing pieces, with Bradon Fields’s sax adding significant value all across! Waiting sees Sandeep’s protégé, Sonu Kakkar produce an expansive stunner with strong support from Patrice Rushen in the piano even as you soak into Walt Fowler’s stunning trumpet in The Idea of Being in Love. That leaves one with Every Night is Lonely Night and Now & Then, the two tracks that work only intermittently. Sandeep Chowta soars far above his mainstream contemporaries with his effort in Matters Of The Heart.
Keywords: Sandeep Chowta, Matters of the Heart, #300, 300
PS 1: The only other Indian composer who has ventured successfully outside his filmy comfort zone with this level of success and proficiency, as far as I can recall, is Ilayaraja, with albums like How To Name It and Nothing But Wind. Sandeep produced a cracker of a soundtrack for the Nagarjuna starrer Kedi, but it hardly got the exposure or praise it truly deserved. So, I’m really glad he has decided to unshackle this film-dependence and do something completely on his own, with some of the best names in the world of Jazz fusion.
PS 2: My awareness of the Jazz world or the Jazz fusion world is incredibly limited. All I can do is write what I feel when I listen to the album and for someone who is significantly well-versed in that genre of music, this review (a personal opinion, at best) may seem really tame. It perhaps is; but for everyone else sailing in my boat… try this album out!