Reviews

SELECTED REVIEWS, PREVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS …

Pittsburgh City Paper  (Critics Pick) CPStaff (Aug 24-31 , 2016)
“Tarana’s music flows with an artful connection despite mixing everything from ambient, flowing loops to catchy Bollywood melodies and beats. Highly recommended viewing. ”  Read More…

AllAboutJazz  Dave Wayne (Nov 8, 2015)
“The influence of iconoclastic visionaries such as Brian Eno, Lee “Scratch” Perry, Bill Laswell, and Nils Petter Molvaer loom large here.  Like Molvaer’s electronica- infused trance music, Tarana’s music moves the body as it tickles the mind.”  Read More…

THUMP | Vice (and audio premiere of “Keherwa”) Alexander Isadarola  (Oct 12, 2015)
“Recorded live, the track was created without any overdubs, and you can really tell in the way it moves gracefully from moment to moment without a clear map of its trajectory, splicing together snippets of acid house, jazz, and psych in a gesture toward vibrant transcendence.”  
Read More…

The Big Takeover  Chuck Foster  (Sept 16, 2015)
“Blips and beeps dance over a percussive plane of sonic haze. It’s the same head-scratching genius of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, only updated for the technological age.” 
Read More…

Tiny Mix Tapes  C. Monster (Sept 8, 2015)
“Off the duo’s newest release, A FIRE OF FLOWERS GROWS AROUND US, Tarana (Ravish Momin & Rick Parker) develops listeners’ hearing with their single, most pleasantly haunting first track, ‘Myvatn.’ ” Read More…

FACTmag  (Music Video Premiere) (Sept 2, 2015)
“The duo Tarana nestles into a fascinating space between jazz, electronica, and the Bollywood and Indian folk music of project founder Ravish Momin’s childhood home. They explore it in length on their upcoming album A Fire Of Flowers Grows Around Us due September 18 via Wondermachine Records, but for now, watch the video by Alexandra Momin for ‘Myvatn’ which uses visual distortion as warped and fluid as the music behind it.” Read More…

Metro|New York: 10 things to do this week in NYC, July 16-22, 2015
(# 2: Tarana + Tektonik @ The Rubin Museum of Art on Friday July 17) T. Michelle Murphy (July 16, 2015)
“The Rubin’s identity is infused with the traditions of the East, and this Friday’s electronic concert hews close to that theme. Ravish Momin’s Tarana and cellist Dana Leon’s Tektonik both strive to produce “folk music from nowhere,” blending influences from India and the Middle East with electronica.” Read More…

Ibero FM 90.9  Yered Garcia (April 30, 2015)
[translated] “To Ravish Momin,the musical composition is an effort that serves as resistance, and claim the true origin of American music: The pastiche of style and technique, ideas and intentions and their respective ways of production and execution together in a land populated by immigrants.” Read More…

La Jornada,  Arturo Arturo Cruz Bárcenas (April 26, 2015)
[translated] “They like to come to Mexico, where they have fans and friends who give them a home. Tarana is a duet trombone / synthesizer and drums / laptop that excites and innovates.”  Read More…

Thump|VICE,  Val Anzaldo  (April 23, 2015)
[translated] ” Their music builds bridges between jazz and electronics, and it is easy to navigate roads that take you floating between both areas. These are sounds that create immersive worlds, with melodies that explode everywhere like fireworks. The duo, consisting of Rick Parker on trombone / synthesizer and Ravish Momin on percussion, has a unique concept of space and rhythm.”  
Read More…

El Fanzine,  Miguel Angel Morales  (April 20, 2015)
[translated] “Tarana, comprised Ravish Momin and Rick Parker group, also round the multicultural prism. The pair settled in New York, does not speak of scales, tones or a “jazzy” but the fusion of all expressions and sound musical possibilities.  The references point to multiple artists/genres: Polar Bear, Princess Nokia, Andy Stott, the Heavy Metal Duo (Ray Anderson and Bob Stewart)  and cutting edge DJs in New York City.”
Read More…

The Other Night at Quinns (Tarana LIVE review), Mike Faloon (December 31, 2014)
“Momin and Parker  leapfrog across continents and timelines mixing traditional and progressive jazz with dub and Indian influences and electronics—East and West, looking back and looking ahead. Tarana keep conjuring different places, different regions, effortlessly trotting around the globe. My mental map is covered with push pins and a network of criss-crossing yarn. The world feels smaller on a night like this.” 
Read More…

Best of 2013: A Person Disguised as People, Ian Doig-Phaneuf (Artistic-Director of LOLAfest, London, Canada)  Read More…

TheSoundofConfusion (UK)  (December 24, 2013)

That said, for an innovative and unique voyage into sound it’s really rather listenable.Read More… 

Kultur Terrorismus (DE)     Raphael Feldmann (November 12, 2013)

[translated from German] In such a combination as it is presented by Tarana, probably jazz fusion could function even in the hottest clubs; especially ‘Azeem O Shaan’ could develop there to be a total hit!”  Read More…

DooBeeDooBeeBoo.info, Dawoud Kringle   (September 30, 2012)

“The performance began with Parker creating a soundscape of electronic sounds and samples. Momin responded to the mood that was created with a beat that grew to a full musical structure. Then, the trombone began its melody, and the two explored the possibilities of the composition. Momin’s drums had an endless sense of sympathy and synchronicity with the electronic sounds he and Parker produced. It blurred the lines between the electronic and organic.” Read More…

Creative Sound Radio (France)   (March 10, 2012)

“From the Art Ensemble of Chicago to John Coltrane, from Sun Ra to William Parker, from the world music experiments of Don Cherry to the sound of the Ravish Momin Trio Tarana, from the best british jazz to the Swedish folk jazz, we take your ears on a trip around a Creative Planet.  An around-the-clock journey through Great Black Music, European or asian jazz and global sounds.” Read More…

All About Jazz, Lawrence Peryer  (November 29, 2011)

“[…] these four tracks, totaling less than 35 minutes, make up some very original and intriguing music.” Read More…

Express Milwaukee, David Luhrssen  (November 18, 2011)

Momin’s disc features a fellow Indian expat, the violinist Trina Basu, the chief source for the fragments of dark Eastern melody heard through much of the recording. Momin’s rhythms shift and Basu’s fiddling follows suit, building toward fiery duets enhanced by subtle looping electronics.Read More…

WNYC Radio (NPR Affiliate, Gig-pick for NYC for 9/23/11), Marlon Bishop (Sept. 23, 2011)
The result is music both composed and improvised that could be easily categorized as jazz, traditional music, electronica, or more likely, some unholy combination of all three.Read More…

Erie Times-News, John Chacona (March 4, 2011)
“Could this year be Ravish Momin’s time? He’s the drummer in Trio Tarana, which plays a free concert at the Erie Art Museum’s Multipurpose Room on Friday.” Read More…

Rochester City Newspaper, Ron Netsky (March 2, 2011)
“You’ve never heard (or seen) a drummer like Ravish Momin. Whether he’s playing the drum set with his hands, seamlessly fusing his drums with a laptop full of electronic sounds, or creating vocal percussion, Momin is reinventing his instrument. ” Read More…

DCist.com, Sriram Gopal (September 23, 2010)

“This diverse set of experiences is reflected in Tarana’s approach. While the electronic component can lead to a more ambient style, Momin is quick to emphasize a strong groove element to the music. Though he eschews the term “fusion” to describe the band, Middle Eastern, North African, and classical European influences are all readily apparent, and combine to create a sound that is very much international and improvisational, but also readily accessible.” Read More…

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Michael Machosky (June 28, 2010)

“Few groups stretch the boundaries of jazz further than Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana, which performed Friday night at the Andy Warhol Museum. They build beautiful, utterly unpredictable improvisations from elements as disparate as Indian classical music, electronic music and a vast panoply of East Asian rhythms.” Read More…

The Albuquerque Alibi, Mel Minter (April 1, 2010, Vol. 19, No. 13)

His Trio Tarana, with violinist Skye Steele and cellist Greg Heffernan, achieves “a seamless mix between the written and the improvised,” he says, to create music that is at once oddly familiar but completely unfamiliar—what he calls “folk music from a country that doesn’t exist.” Like any folk music, it’s instantly accessible and simply profound. Read More…

Saint Louis Magazine Interview, Stefene Russell (Mar. 20, 2010)

“The interview will make a lot more sense (when you click on the video above while reading), because Momin is definitely a purveyor of the ‘familar-unfamiliar”‘– his music is accessible, yet unlike anything you’ve heard before. Read More…

Edmonton Journal (Canada), Roger Levesque (Oct. 31, 2009)

“Creative curiosity has been a central factor in the continuing growth of jazz music over the past century, so it’s good to find out that the crucial spirit of musical experimentation still exists. Meet Ravish Momin and his group Trio Tarana.”  Read More…

AllAboutJazz Feature Interview, Clifford Allen (March 3, 2009)

“Drummer Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana is one of the most consistently rewarding and intriguing groups to grace the roster of Portugal’s Clean Feed Records. Momin—and Tarana—are a genre-fogging unit, blending jazz improvisation with forms from South and East Asia and North Africa. However, this mixing of genres is endemic to Momin’s working methods and has expanded to his appearances with other ensembles like the rock band Fulton Lights, tenor man Kalaparusha’s ensemble The Light and pianist Ursel Schlicht’s Ex Tempore.”  Read More…

TimeOUT/Hongkong, Michael Nunez (Dec. 4, 2008)

There’s plenty of open space to be found in the noise made by experimental world-jazz group Trio Tarana. Guided by distinct rhythms from bandleader, composer and percussionist Ravish Momin, the ever-changing group embeds Asian folk motifs in contemporary jazz arrangements, producing a sound that is archaic yet modern, which he describes as “a place where ancient meets future.” Read More…

REDSTAR Magazine (China), Qingdao, Ian Burns (Nov. 27, 2008) (Cover Photo in Print Edition)

Lead member and percussionist Ravish Momin was born in Mumbai, India and spent many of his formative years in Bahrain, Australia and the UK before settling in the USA. The influence of his early days on the music the band produces is plain to see, as Middle Eastern instruments, inflection and inspiration permeate the music, adding a genuinely unique twist to Scherr’s blues/jazz-oriented basslines.” Read More…

Georgia Straight (Canada), Vancouver, Alexander Varty (October 9, 2008)

“The uniquely percussive twang of an oud enters on the left, signalling that we’re embarking on a visit to the Middle East. Soon, however, the oud slips into a deep, dark blues bass line, and a plaintive violin joins in. It’s obviously the European instrument, not one of its ethnic cousins, but after sketching a melody that could be a John Lee Hooker tune as interpreted by Ornette Coleman, it takes on some of the timbre of the West African njarka, favoured by nomads and shamans alike. Meanwhile, a subtle drummer has been clicking along behind these two, his traps splitting the difference between a Manhattan nightclub and a Mississippi juke joint.”  Read More…

TimeOUT/ London (UK) (April 16, 2008)
Percussionist/composer Momin leads his NYC band trio – with violinist Skye Steele and oud player Brandon Terzic – on the last date of their UK tour. Creating compelling, pan-global jazz that blends Indian, Japanese, Afghani and Indonesian rhythms in surprising and exciting ways, this is dazzling and dynamic music from a boundary shattering trio.

Venue Magazine (UK), Bristol (April 11-20, 2008 Issue #812)
[…] At times is settles on simple catchy folk tunes and at others there are long periods of free-improvisation going way beyond the tight discipline of raga.  The beguiling thing is that it’s always half-recognizable as world music from somewhere, but the clever thing is that it’s also Jazz- and very good Jazz at that.

All Music Guide, Michael G. Nastos (February 2008)

“Drummer/composer Ravish Momin has been searching for an identity as a leader since his days working with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre’s trio the Light. It would seem he has found a substantive part of that with his Trio Tarana, as their ethnic and world fusion concept meets the modern creative improvised world squarely. Sounds of the Balkan countries, the Far East, neo-classical chamber music, and Africa are clearly heard”  Read More…

Jazzwise (UK), Kevin LeGendre (February Issue, 2008)

“Jazz is possibly the only genre of music where any combination of instruments is acceptable. While the rock establishment sniggers at those who dare introduce anything as exotic as a marimba into a guitar band and classical music conventions are still massively tied to the piano and orchestra, improvising players will probably bang hubcaps in 7/4 when there isn’t any ivory left in the world. Indeed, Henry Threadgill already has.  The tonal and timbral richness of Momin’s percussion-oud-violin ensemble is thus worth noting, perhaps beyond the music’s rhythmic and melodic specificities that draw on both the leader’s Indian roots as well as Middle-Eastern and African musical heritages. Despite this, the Blues are never far away and in that sense it’s logical to place Momin in a Don Cherry-Yusef Lateef-Leon Parker continuum.

His composing has a strong personal quality and his arrangements a bold, polyrhythmic density cunningly leavened by the absense of a bass or low range instrument.  One might find similarities between this music and the work of New York-based Israelis such as Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital or Amos Hoffman, but Terzic and Bardfeld are very different players to the afore-mentioned, the latter in particular prone to bringing a harsh, almost-electric guitar quality to his violin.  What Momin posits here is a fresh, forward-thinking aesthetic that reaches beyond standard east-west jazzology or identikit exotica; his writing, arranging and playing on a very non-standard kit, comprising cajon and talking drum as well as traps, are that of a man on a quest for novel musical narratives as well as novel sounds.”

OkayPlayer, John Book (November 2007)

“The oud works as a bass, and mixed in with Momim’s drumming. it sounds like a music worlds away from anything anyone has ever heard. Some of the material here have the feel of Klezmer, or maybe it’s a Middle Eastern sound, and yet the core of it all is still jazz, a wordly united struggle composed with sound. This trio could have taken the easy way out and dished out another world music fusion disc, but it’s a bit left of center, almost avant-garde at times. Free but still with some sense of structure, eclectic but without going too deep into the unknown. Anyone familiar with the music of Carla Kihlstedt, Joelle Leandre, Jennifer Choi, Rashied Ali, Susie Ibarra, or Creed Taylor will find ‘Miren (A Longing)’ to be an unexpected pleasure.”

AllAboutJazz, Mark Corroto (August 2007)

“So the ‘roots’ of this music are Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Fair enough, but you don’t have to know anything about the Afro-Peruvian percussion instrument the cajon to know this music swings. The opening track, “Tehrah,” rolls with a familiarity you can’t quite place. Sam (Bruce Springsteen, Jazz Passengers) Bardfeld’s violin curls a folkish sound around the oud playing of Brandon Terzic. The music sounds very old yet infused with modern elements.” Read More…

Epic India, Richard Marcus (August 2007)

“Ravish Momin’s Trio Tarana is not one of those cheap exploitations of sound that passes for “world” music being sold in New Age stores. Miren (A Longing) is an example of what happens when three dedicated and experienced musicians of like mind come together to make music. Each composition has an intent that is adhered to as a framework. Within this framework, they each give free expression to whatever the intent has inspired in them making this one of the most interesting and exciting pieces of improvisational music I have heard in a long time.”  Read More…

AllAboutJazz, Elliott Simon (Oct. 2006)

“With Five Nights, recorded live at Washington DC’s beautiful Freer Gallery of Art amidst their excellent Asian collections, the band has exceeded its aim by producing a session that can serve as an example of cultural harmony to all people. The instrumentation is string-based but has Momin’s startling North Indian percussion at its heart. The combination of Jason Kao Hwang’s violin with Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz’s bass and oud exudes a wide sound palette that conveys lovely understatement and graceful lines, along with blistering solos.”  Read More…

Bagatellen, Derek Taylor (July 27, 2006)

“Momin keeps things moving with drum kit and a small battery of hand percussion. His rich melodicism and rhythmic veracity regularly rise to the foreground matching the agility of the strings in shaping mellifluous patterns. Only rarely does he rest, and his near-constant activity reminds me of Hamid Drake, both in terms of daring and deftness. Hwang is his usual virtuosity-on-sleeve self, sculpting crying, keening glissandi with his hummingbird bow and continuously slicing through conventional notions of tempered tonality with voice-like inflections.”  Read More…

Downtown Music Gallery, Bruce L. Gallaner (June 28, 2006)

“‘Five Nights’ was recorded live at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery in July of 2005. The sly opening piece,”Dai Genyo”, is for oud, violin and mostly hand percussion. It is a hypnotic blend of mysterious, Eastern strains, with Jason’s sublime violin playing in an Indian-like tone and Shanir’s wonderful oud caressing the melody with style and grace.”  Read More…

Jazzworldquest (interview), Stephen Bocioaca (June 5, 2006):

“What do you think about a trend to a so called global cultural hybridization , or maybe to a meltdown of musical styles into an amorphous ‘world’ music?”
Ravish Momin: “I think it’s inevitable, really. Let me first be clear that by cultural hybridization, I am not referring to “homogenization of cultures.” On the surface level, yes, the blending of pop music with various cultures somehow leads to a homegenous “world-pop” sound, which can be heard on radio stations from Taiwan to the Czech Republic to Peru”
. Read More…

The Wire (UK), Julian Cowley (May Issue, 2005)

“Legacies of Chinese, Middle-Eastern and Indian cultural roots self-evidently feed the playing of this New York Trio. Yet the music of Violinist Jason Kao Hwang, Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on Oud and Bass, and drummer Ravish Momin sounds comfortably itself, as a successful fusing project should do. Hwang has an impressive capacity to add dramatic dimensions to melodic contours, transforming shape into vivid event. Blumenkranz, best known from Danny Zamir’s Satlah project, is a comparably enlivening bassist, and his Oud draws other colours from the basic melodic material. Add Momin’s agility and distinctive percussive accents and the outcome is a high-spirited and genuinely refreshing set, free from old-fashioned exotic affectation. Radiating through the music is a sure sense that the trio were totally committed to this project, and derived real enjoyment from it. That transmits.”

 

OneFinalNote, David Dupont (May 9, 2005)

“This music brings to center stage sounds that have been deeply embedded within the fabric of contemporary music. Yet it does so without a sense of cultural pastiche. Rather it’s easy to imagine this as the native music of some imagined place, located at a busy global intersection. Trio Tarana takes us there.”Read More…

JazzWeekly, Ken Waxman (May, 2005)

 

“Need more convincing? ‘Peace for Kabul’, the sentiments of which could probably be extended to other spots in the Middle East, follows the theme-elaboration-theme Western convention, yet in-between that oud and hand drums seems to elaborate a traditional Arabic line, except for the points where there’s an undercurrent of Eastern European Jewish music apparent.” Read More…

Chicago Reader, Peter Margasak (Oct. 15-12 Issue, 2004) *Critics Pick*

“The music Indian percussionist Ravish Momin makes with violinist Jason Kao Hwang and bassist and oud player Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz is even more diverse than you’d expect. Their forthcoming debut, ‘Climbing the Banyan Tree’, is a profound and organic fusion of Indian, Middle Eastern, and Western music — the goal isn’t to see how many different things they can cram into one package. Momin’s an adept tabla player but here sticks mostly to a standard jazz kit, though he doesn’t swing in any conventional sense; his thoughtful compositions frequently employ the extended rhythmic cycles of Indian classical music and root the music’s melodies and harmonies in Middle Eastern modes.

Hwang’s microtonal improvisations are some of the best I’ve heard from him: on ‘Instance of Memory’ his tense, seesawing double-stops create a dense halo of harmonies around Blumenkranz’s splintery oud solo, and on ‘Peace for Kabul’ his sobbing lines suggest a wordless muezzin’s cry or a desert-bred Stephane Grappelli.  The sure-footed Blumenkranz, best known from Daniel Zamir’s Jewish jazz project Satlah, gives the music a strong Middle Eastern flavor no matter what instrument he’s playing — his bass mimics the twangy timbre of the oud. Momin himself rarely takes a turn in the spotlight or really puts the hammer down — but his mastery of non-Western forms on a Western instrument is more impressive than any 20-minute drum solo.

This appearance, part of the Asian American Jazz Festival, is Trio Tarana’s Chicago debut; see the jazz listings for more on the festival. 2 PM,  Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630.

In Pittsburgh Weekly, Manny Theiner (April 4, 2001)

Former Pittsburgher Ravish Momin is whipping up a small storm in New York City’s avant-garde jazz scene with his percussion skills. Since moving there three years ago, he’s formed a working trio with saxophonist Peter Epstein. He’s also lined up recording dates with Kalapurush McIntyre for Cadence magazine’s CIMP imprint, and with saxophonist Sabir Mateen for the French label Blue Records. Momin has stretched his chakras into the realm where Indian tablas and hip-hop head-nods meet, thanks to a project called ‘Collapsing Symmetry’ with his cousin Alap, a member of the experimental beat junkies Dalek (on Matador Records). In addition to all that name-dropping, Momin has carved a niche of his own by releasing a solo CD, ‘Sound Dissolving Sound’ (Sachimay), which AllAboutJazz.com called a ‘compelling exhibition of divergent rhythmic explorations.’

In this frantic whirlwind of activity though, Momin hasn’t forgotten Pittsburgh. He returns regularly to work in a free-improv duo called I/O with local saxophone stalwart Lee Robinson; the pair works up an uncommon free-jazz sweat with almost telepathic interplay. Thanks to a sister-city exchange program between Pittsburgh and the Japanese metropolis of Omiya, I/O has already made its presence felt with a short tour in the Land of the Rising Sun, and hopes to return for a longer jaunt soon.
On Sat., April 7 the duo join forces again at the Friends Meeting House in Shadyside; call 683-2669 for more info.

Additional Reviews (not available online) can be found on the archived link: Reviews Archive

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