James Newton with K. Gopalnath & P. Srinivasan: Southern Brothers

A kind of role reversal takes place on the session entitled Southern Borders (Water Lily Acoustics 56; 47:45). Here we have an Indo-jazz interaction in which James Newton, the thoroughly matriculated jazz voice, performs on flute, an instrument familiar to Indian contexts. Meanwhile, K. Gopalnath plays saxophone, sharp of articulation and with an angular phrasing, in a fashion that is clearly estranged from jazz standards. Somehow, the two get along well, conversing in a kind of cross-cultural hybrid language, coated with the percussive voice of P. Srinivasan on the Carnatic drum, the mridangam. Cultural differences and improvisational fluidity mark their dialogue, and they fittingly dedicate the recording to both the South Indian musician T.R. Mahalingham, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the jazz icon who had his ear open eastward.