Swimming in Bengal - Garden of Idle Hands LP
The first album on Mike Trouchon's Baggage Claim label goes to Swimming in Bengal, a fine Sacramento free-improv trio featuring Jed Brewer, Rusi Gustafson, and Tony Passarel. Unlike most improv acts, these guys forgo the skronk and squiggle for worldly sounds, finding the sweet spot between mystical free jazz, neo-exotica, and drone. As one reviewer quipped, "The group work with Middle Eastern and south Asian timbres, melding oud-like gourd guitar noodlings with Indian tablas, west African djembe drums, and some lightly sprinkled alto sax and flute parps. Luckily it's no hippie drum circle (despite coming from California's state capital), and wanders beautifully and aimlessly through structureless atmospheric jams like some breezy Martin Denny recording featuring Sam Shalabi." Limited to 300.