The Teak Project
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The Teak Project

Band World Jazz


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The best kept secret in music


""...highly listenable...""

Probably the first "world fusion" album, John Mayer's 1967 Indo-Jazz Fusions disconcerted both purists and populists, and the Indian violinist's contribution is only now being reassessed.

While these albums from 1969 and 1971 contain moments of dated dippiness - dig the breathy narration on Rhada Krishna - the meeting of Indian, jazz and Western classical flavours yields passages of unexpected and touching beauty, with some powerfully rhapsodic blowing from top British saxman Tony Coe.

If there is a certain awkwardness in the way the Eastern and Western elements come together, this quality is entirely absent from the efforts of Mayer's sitar-playing son, Jonathan.

While his Teak Project with guitarist Justin Quinn and tabla player Neil Craig doesn't break any new ground, they have created an understated and highly listenable blend of Indian classical, folk and jazz elements which shows how far the fusion phenomenon has come in 40 years.

Mark Hudson

- The Daily Telegraph

""At last - an East-meets-West to be proud of" June 2008 ****"

Any initial apprehension you might feel at sitting through yet another attempt at an Indo-European fusion album after so many have cack-handedly tried and failed should be dismissed. This is an eminently listenable disc. Given the pedigree of the musicians - Jonahtan Mayer and Justin Quinn are both sons of famous Indo-jazz musicians - you might expect a heavy jazz bias, yet although there is undoubtedly a jazz flavour to some of the playing it is by no means dominant. That the tracks here aren't clearly jazz ot Hindustani recital, or a conscious fusion of the two, is to their credit. My impression is that the musicians are not hung up on labels but just set out to make music, and what results is a strangely satisfying but unclassifiable melange of tala, modal harmonies, gamaka, dreamy ostinatos and virtuosic melismas. There is also much more variety here than first appears - a gentle feel but with skilful rhythmic playing. And track four starts off with an eminently classical alap. If you are looking for something a little different, but with a sound world that hints at just the right amount of Indian and European influence then this CD is definitely worth a listen.

Reviewed by: Maria Lord - Songlines

"June 2008 ****"

A mesmerising modern-day incarnation of the Indo-Jazz fusion pioneered in the 60's by John Mayer. Son Jonathan Mayer, a virtuoso sitar player, joins Jusin Quinn (guitar) and Neil Craig (tabla) in a series of lovely, intricate dialogues featuring hypnotic ostinatos and expressive improvisations. Britush folk, Indian classical and jazz create a rich brew. - MOJO

""...very inventive..." March 2008 ****"

When Calcutta-raised violinist John Mayer (a player schooled in western and Indian classical music) formed his Indo-Jazz Fusions group with Caribbean sax star Joe Harriott in the 1960s, world music collaborations involving cross-cultural improvisers were almost unknown. The Teak Project involves Mayer's sitarist son Jonathan, who grew up in the musical world his father predicted, when players from different traditions wouldn't respectfully play in parallel with each other, but genuinely converse. Jonathan Mayer, F-ire Collective guitarist Justin Quinn and tabla player Neil Craig collaborate on seven originals by the band members here; and though fans of John McLaughlin's east-west Shakti group - or even of Ralph Towner or Egberto Gismonti - will sense familiar ground, the music is fresh, avoiding Shakti's high-speed badinage or familiar licks from either culture. Craig's Deliver Me has Balkan and Iberian as much as Indian undertones, and the brooding then bouncy Leaky echoes both jazzier McLaughlin and road-band Metheny. Some passages are mainly textural (exploring slow-bending low notes, metallic chords and gurgling percussion), Mayer blending a ballad-guitar sound with the sitar's quivering tones on the rhapsodic Emily, and Quinn putting his flamenco and McLaughlin enthusiasms to creative use. The lineup narrows the possible tone-colours, but they make very inventive use of what they have.

Reviewed by: John Fordham - The Guardian (UK)

""...sweetly serene and melodic...""

Second-generation Indo-jazz fusions with Jonathan Mayer (son of Sixties pioneer John Mayer) on sitar, Justin Quinn on acoustic guitar and Neil Craig on tabla. What's so attractive about the seven original compositions is the relaxed approach of the players and the easy interplay of sitar and guitar. There's no genre-bending emphasis on raga-form or other geography-teacher stuff, and if the result is sweetly serene and melodic (closer to "Norwegian Wood" than Shakti) this only emphasises its appeal as superior ambient music, although the total absence of McLaughlin-style angstiness means we miss out on drama.

Reviewed by: Phil Johnson - The Independent (UK) - March 2008

""...near-perfect realisation of indo-jazz..." March 2008 ****"

SECOND generation indo-jazz - sitar player Jonathan Mayer is the son of indo-jazz pioneer John Mayer - which maintains the tradition nicely.The devilish complexity of the music does nothing to detract from its sweetness and serenity. Justin Quinn is a fleet-fingered guitarist worthy to fill John McLaughlin's sandals. Tabla-player Neil Craig provides the impetus, and transforms the gentle acoustic music with the serpentine-like beats of the raga. In short, The Teak Project offers a near-perfect realisation of indo-jazz yet hints at further expansion: the floating impressionism of Outnumbered By One recalls the work of Belgian guitarist Philip Catherine. Lovely stuff.

Reviewed by: Alan Brownlee - Manchester Evening News (UK)


Still working on that hot first release.


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