|RAJESH MEHTA COLLECTIVE 3+:
Rajesh Mehta: trumpet, bass trumpet, hybrid trumpet
An outstanding example of some of the best international musicians from Amsterdam's multiculutral music scene, by an ensemble described by critics as playing "Intriguing Indian New music". The compositions are by the Indian-American musician Rajesh Mehta and incorporate modulating number cycles, microtonality and collective improvisation. Performed by Mehta on trumpet, bass trumpet, hybrid trumpet and featuring the Australian pocket trumpeter/vocalist Felicity Provan and the Scottish drummer/percussionist Alan Purves. They are joined by guests Dutch-American cellist Paul Stouthamer and Australian electric guitarist Tom Fryer.
"This music is exciting and intriguing, bringing to the improvised music arena a variant cultural element. Far more than a hybrid, it is an original form of music collectively spawned from the heterogeneous cultural base of each player. Mehta and his band will enchant you." (Frank Rubolino, CADENCE)
The influences of Indian musics (especially those of South India) and contemporary improvised musics have inspired my musical language for years. It becomes increasingly apparent to me through the groups evolution, that the Collective 3+ has an affinity to the South Indian temple ensembles consisting of two nageswarams (double-reed instruments) and Tavil (high-tensioned double-headed drum) and the penetrating and exuberant musical interplay between them. I couldnt have been more fortunate than to find kindred spirits in Australian trumpetist/ vocalist Felicity Provan and the poly-percussionist Scotsman Alan Gunga Purves and to meet these versatile talents with their wealth of musical experiences so early in my stay in Amsterdam. The unique instrumentation of two trumpets and drums already provides an unusual timbral rich-ness with which to work. This is enhanced by the addition of voice, trumpets of different kinds (and at varying degrees of preparation and deconstruction) and a battery of percussion instruments, bells and squeaky toys. Nevertheless, it has always been integral to the concept of the Collective 3+ to invite other musicians to join this threesome for projects, teasing the groups fantasy towards new musical expressions. On this CD, two string players were our guests: Dutch-American cellist Paul Stouthamer grounds the groups pieces with his jazz roots while Australian guitarist Tom Fryer perks up the two tracks, Micro-Orka and Grüblein, with his idiosyncratic guitar style and microtonal nuances.
The pieces on this recording were designed to allow the collective artistry of the groups members to flourish and to navigate through specific musical structures:
Micro-Orka is a contemporary raga which builds on the microtonal language Ive developed in my solo work by removing slides from a trupet; extending this to two trumpets and offering complementary pitches to the string instruments. The piece highlights the unique series of pitches and the ensuing wooden flute like timbre that each trumpet possesses when played through the disconnected slide.
Revolving Doors is a collective improvisation derived from a sequence of phrases which each musician can enter freely, having the possibility to either change speeds, embellish the phrase, or to stop.
The modal composition Nagaraja is based on modulating number cycles and features a string of solo statements by the groups members. After a vocal exposition by Provan, solos follow by Stouthamer, Mehta, Provan (this time on pocket trumpet), and Purves.
Grübleins post-jazzrock funk-ness gives free rein to the groups whimsical urges.
Inspired by a Hindu devotional song of the same name, Aarti opens as a canon and unfolds its mystery through the groups explorations.
Rajesh Mehta (August 1998, Amsterdam)
Recorded by Ben Mendes at Phunky Pheasant Studios, Amsterdam on April 14/15, 1997 Mix and CD-Master by Vlatko Kucan, August 1998.