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Ravish Momin's Trio Tarana

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The music Indian percussionist Ravish Momin makes with violinist Jason Kao Hwang and bassist and oud player Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz is even more diverse than you'd expect. Their forthcoming debut, Climbing the Banyan Tree (Clean Feed), is a profound and organic fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern, and Western musics--the goal isn't to see how many different things they can cram into one package. Momin's an adept tabla player but here sticks mostly to a standard jazz kit, though he doesn't swing in any conventional sense; his thoughtful compositions frequently employ the extended rhythmic cycles of Indian classical music and root the music's melodies and harmonies in Middle Eastern modes. Hwang's microtonal improvisations are some of the best I've heard from him: on "Instance of Memory" his tense, seesawing double-stops create a dense halo of harmonies around Blumenkranz's splintery oud solo, and on "Peace for Kabul" his sobbing lines suggest a wordless muezzin's cry or a desert-bred Stephane Grappelli. The sure-footed Blumenkranz, best known from Daniel Zamir's Jewish jazz project Satlah, gives the music a strong Middle Eastern flavor no matter what instrument he's playing--his bass mimics the twangy timbre of the oud. Momin himself rarely takes a turn in the spotlight or really puts the hammer down--but his mastery of non-Western forms on a Western instrument is more impressive than any 20-minute drum solo. This appearance, part of the Asian American Jazz Festival, is Trio Tarana's Chicago debut; see the jazz listings for more on the festival. Saturday 16, 2 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. Free. All ages.

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