Featuring: Don Cherry, Laksmi Shankar.
Producer: Jai Uttal
PULSE, Special Jazz Report
by Linda Kohanov
Jai Uttal strikes an amicable balance between richly exotic Indian textures, jazz improvisation and electronic invention on his debut release, Footprints (Triloka). The San Francisco-based artist’s approach is both skillful and accessible. Synthesizers, electric and midi guitars, samplers and bass mesh with the sounds of tabla, harmonium, percussion and the six-stringed dotar.
Jazz innovator Don Cherry provides some memorable moments on pocket trumpet, forsaking technical displays in favor of melodic subtlety and emotional warmth. Lakshmi Shankar sounds completely at home on Uttal’s updated setting of a traditional Indian prayer, “Raghupati.”
Visions of snake charmers, village dances, intimate court performances and wandering street singers fill this album with a profound sense of appreciation for India’s musical legacy.