Surinder Sandhu: Avi's Theme


Avi's Theme


Surinder Sandhu (sarangi, vocals, djembe, everything else)


The Fictionist (Saurango Music 101)

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Surinder Sandhu (sarangi, vocals, djembe, everything else),

Corbett (trumpet and flugelhorn), Dennis Rollins (trombone), Huntu (flute), Chris ‘Beebe’ Aldridge (saxes and clarinet), Bryan Levi French (piano), Trish (accordion), Dave Lowe (guitars), Peter Brown (acoustic guitar, keyboards, vocals), Dave Clarke (bass), Miles Levin (drums), Kousic Sen (tabla), Tunde Jegede (kora), The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra


Composed by Surinder Sandhu


Recorded: Liverpool, England and Mumbai, India, June 2007


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

World jazz player and composer Surinder Sandhu thinks in grand scales. This time out he has tackled another huge project. A grant was awarded in celebration of Liverpool, England's being named "European City of Culture 2008." Sandhu was given the task of writing music for the occasion, and his own band of musicians was to be augmented by the 75 members of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Not surprisingly, he was thrilled to be given the opportunity. However, just as he was to begin composing, his nephew Avi tragically died. Sandhu found it impossible to even think about music. After mourning his nephew, Sandhu made several unsuccessful attempts at composing. His heart was just not in it. Finally inspiration returned when he went back to England from India. Sandhu says the music then poured out of him very quickly. Fittingly, the first cut on The Fictionist is entitled "Avi's Theme."

The Fictionist is comprised of 10 sections, but is written in such a way that it should be considered one long piece. "Avi's Theme" is everything you expect these days from Sandhu. It is a dramatic mix of European orchestral flourishes, Indian and Spanish (almost Argentinean) rhythms, with some modern Indian, funk and free jazz mixed in. Much of this modern music is produced by the ancient instruments of India, Sandhu's sarangi being chief among them. But there are also the sounds of electricity. On this particular tune it is Sandhu's sarangi, a bowed string instrument, and Chris Aldridge's saxophone that provide the most interest. Trish's accordion is also of note as it is played in the style of the Argentinean bandoneón. "Avi's Theme" is a fully realized effort full of scope and dynamic twists and turns. It almost gets you ready for what will follow.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

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