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Anti-Gravity: Boogie for Hanuman

Braving the potential dangerous practice of world music crossover, the Boston-based group Anti-Gravity mixes up Indian classical tradition and jazz sensibilities, with emphasis on the former. Bassist Warren Senders, who has studied Hindustani vocal music in addition to his culture-bending ensembles, leads the group, which includes keepers of Indian instrumental convention-a fine sitarist, Atul Keskar, tabla player Rajiv Devesthali, flutist Ajit Soman and violinist Ramakant Parajnpe. Add to this western elements of guitarist Vijaya Sundaram, cellist Caroline Dillon, and Nikhil Sohoni playing cymbals-suggesting a skeletal drum kit-and the hybrid begins. The ensemble gives spirited, rough-edged performances of Senders’ material (plus a version of Abdullah Ibrahim’s “Ishmael” to close). It’s true, their “Indo-jazz” isn’t quite fish or fowl, and there may be lingering questions about the blend, but, for the most part, they get away with it, with taste and dignity intact.

Originally Published