Arcana: The Indo-Jazz Sessions reflects the spirit of India through the prism of jazz. After many years studying with the legendary Indian flautist Hariprasad Chaurasia, Guillaume Barraud explores the sound of the bansuri(Indian flute) with his contemporary jazz quartet.
'never fails to turn up interesting results' Shindig Magazine
15 March Studio de l’Ermitage, Paris, France
16 March Richmix, London, UK
Inspired to push the boundaries of the bansuri (Indian flute) and take in it in a completely new direction, Guillaume Barraud seamlessly combines different musical concepts borrowed from both Western and Indian traditions. Imbued with the sacred colours of India, Arcana: The Indo-Jazz Sessions is a real milestone in his musical career as he elegantly integrates the bansuri and its heritage into the context of contemporary jazz.
The Guillaume Barraud Quartet was formed in 2015 and includes British guitarist Tam De Villiers, bassist Johann Berby from Reunion Island and Belgian drummer Xavier Rogé. The album was recorded live in just two days at the former Vogue Studios in Paris and was mixed and mastered by the renowned sound engineers Philippe Tessier Du Cros and Raphael Jonin.
Named after the Indian raga ‘Kalavati’, the opening piece comprises various sequences that gradually unveil the artist's unique and eclectic musical approach. Next up is a tribute to Miles Davis, with the frenetic ‘Giant Leap’ displaying the true universal nature of the Indian bamboo flute.
‘Hari’ is another name for the Indian God Vishnu of whom Krishna, the ‘celestial flautist’, is an incarnation. This composition pays a warm tribute to Hariprasad Chaurasia, known himself as ‘Hari ji’, as well as the iconic Mahavishnu Orchestra. It is written in three different time signatures: 11/8, 5/4 and 6/4, and rhythmically influenced by percussion maestro Misirli Ahmet, whom Guillaume toured with in Turkey back in 2005.
Based on the early evening raga ‘Marwa’, ‘Ascent’ is composed as an alap – a section of classical Indian music used to subtly introduce the next piece. ‘Mumbai On My Mind’ begins with a stunning guitar riff. Written in 9/8, this track reflects the sort of managed chaos experienced in the gigantic city.
Written in 7/4 and based on the scale of raga ‘Puriya Dhanashree’, ‘Dusk’ sets a dark and mysterious mood reflecting yet another musical dimension. The nostalgic ballad ‘Esquisse’ highlights the delicacy and sensuality of the Indian bamboo flute, while ‘Wandering Spirit’ lies at the heart of the album’s concept. Initially developed as a guitar arpeggio based on raga ‘Gujari Todi’, this haunting piece displays a unique and complex rhythm cycle of 27 beats subdivided as three bars of 7/8 and one bar of 6/8.
The closing track ‘Reunion’ is a nod to Guillaume and Johann's first collaboration in Bombay and is another seamless re-interpretation of a classic raga by the ground-breaking jazz quartet.