Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana
Climbing The Banyan Tree
Ravish Momin didn’t begin playing music until 18 and even then didn’t study music full-time. “I knew
right away that I wouldn’t have the same ‘natural’approach
as someone who’s been playing since they were five years- old,” says Momin. “So, I was able to think more about applying different kinds of beats consciously…instead
of simply having ‘muscle memory,’ I approached it more mentally at first.” Ravish accomplishes this difficult
merging of cultures in his music without kitsch or stale overconceptualization despite his unassuming background.
Trio Tarana is Momin’s project in acoustic Eastern jazz. Though there’s a consistent Eastern focus, with both folk songs and original material, no song is without a sense of swing. Momin studied with drummer Bob Moses, who taught him the importance of groove in music, something he injects into these unconventional pieces. Momin’s fills are never the natural, legato lines one would expect; he utilizies uncommon techniques such as the press roll to the point of minimalism;. At this juncture, they become a natural part of his sound.
Violinist Jason Kao Hwang is a source of electricity. Hwang applies sheets of sound to his normally linear instrument, using truly every resource available to him. Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (of Jewish jazz combo Satlah) plays bass and oud, the latter an instrument that rarely appears in jazz – contrary to popular belief, Ahmed Abdul-Malik didn’t play oud at Coltrane’s Village Vanguard residency, but rather tamboura. The default configuration of the trio unfortunately lacks one important element: the power of human breath in music. Momin must have observed this, because he introduces his voice into the mix. Climbing The Banyan Tree is a excellent distillation of many musical cultures, and thanks to the Trio’s work, is even enjoyable for those unaware of the music’s background.