‘Spillin’ The Beans – Hmayra by Shubh Saran

A while ago, ‘Spillin’ The Beans reviewed a track by Shubh Saran called “It Was You” from his forthcoming album, “Hmayra“. Now, I have the opportunity to review the whole album.

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The press release says that “Shubh’s new album, Hmayra, is a melting pot of contemporary jazz, Indian music, neo-soul, and fusion that combines the spontaneity of live music with the finesse of post production. The compositions blend intricate harmony and rhythm presented in a groove oriented and digestible way. The album opens with “The Profane”, an ominous, percussion-heavy intro. As the album progresses, the songs become brighter and melody-driven concluding with “Ascent“, which makes it all sound pretty tasty to someone who likes a bit of jazz fusion.

So, is it as tasty as the blurb makes it sound? Well, yes, so long as you are a fan of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and other fusion acts. If not, it might not be the album for you, but, even so I urge you to listen, because there is much pleasure to be found in this music. Soundwise, this is clean and uncluttered music, and the playing is a joy. There are some very accomplished musicians at work here, I especially like the horns on “Blank Stare“, a track that builds in intensity as it goes along. Terrific stuff.

I always listen to these albums before finding out anything about the musicians, apart from what is in the press release. That way I come to the music with no preconceptions. To be honest, if I was hearing this without knowing who it was by, I’d definitely be thinking of names like John McLaughlin. Some of the guitar playing is sublime here. I recommend the longest track on the album, “Haze“, it really has some gorgeous delicate guitar, as well as more of fantastic horns. Another track I really liked a lot was “The Imposter“, the piano on this really pushes the track along.

The album is available to hear on Spotify, but I really think that it needs to be heard on a decent hi fi.

Shubh’s website is here, and he also has a channel on YouTube.

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