Release date: January 29th 2008
Availability: CD, MP3 Download, iTunes
"Shayari" is essentially a two hander from Ron Blake (saxophone) and Michael Cain (piano/ producer) with star support from Christian McBride (bass), Jack DeJohnette (drums), Regina Carter (violin) and Gilmar Gomes (perscussion) added sparingly and just where required. The overall feel is somewhat similar to the 'less is more' approach of Marty Ehrlich and Myra Melford's recent album "Spark!" and has the same virtue of leaving space for the imagination to work on its evocative themes. Only here all but one track is a different trio chosen as Ron Blake and Michael Cain plus one of the above musicians.
The title refers to a Hindi or Urdu short form of poetry not dissimilar from the better known Japanese Haiku. For some examples see this blog. The attempt of such poetry to convey universal understanding within an extreme simplicity is a very apt metaphor for the approach taken in this music.
The trio with Christian McBride "What Is Your Prayer For?" is a clear winner for out and out beauty while the trio with Jack DeJohnette "Hanuman" wins the day for drive and intensity. Regina Carter's feature on violin ('"Of Kindred Souls") features fine almost dissonant harmonies with saxophone before settling into a satisfyingly bluesy groove. Some of the most memorable tracks ("Waltz For Gwen", "Come Sun" and "The Island") feature percussionist Gilmar Gomes as the third musician and this seems to be particularly in keeping with the shayari theme. "Remember The Rain" is a short Coltrane–like sax/piano duet.
The album is memorable, very cool and likely to put Ron Blake and Michael Cain fully on the map as a major creative jazz partnership.
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