Paul Plimley/Trichy Sankaran: Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums

They both make their home in Canada, but pianist Paul Plimley and Indian percussionist Trichy Sankaran work from different cultural ends towards a desired middle ground. Plimley, known for his hardy efforts in improvisation and the avant end of the Western Canadian jazz scene, finds plenty to converse about musically with the Indian-born percussionist on Ivory Ganesh Meets Doctor Drums (Songlines 1523; 50:56). Sankaran, playing mrdangam and kanjira, has appeared with a wide array of open-minded improvisers from various cultures, and was heard on last year’s juicy electric Miles tribute, Yo Miles. The pair works together in a sensitive, resonant way, mixing up structured pieces with complex meters (by Western standards) and improvised pieces in a vocabulary that splits the difference between Carnatic, European and jazz inferences. There’s a freshness to the meeting that makes its own brand of cross-cultural poetry.