Standards Vol. 1 (EP) Rafiq Bhatia
- 1In A Sentimental Mood03:46
- 2The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face04:11
- 3Lonely Woman03:56
- 4The Single Petal Of A Rose04:41
Info for Standards Vol. 1 (EP)
Working with a cast of traditional jazz’s most beloved musicians including the three-time GRAMMY-winning vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, Bhatia implements dreamlike and sometimes volatile electronic techniques to recast classic repertoire as a window into the darkness underlying ordinary American life.
In his latest project, Standards Vol. 1, he collaborates with some of jazz’s most distinguished musicians on a surprising and oblique take on the canonical jazz repertoire. The results retain some of the texture and feeling of jazz, but sit firmly outside of the music’s conventions. You may have heard these songs before, but you’ve never heard them like this.
“His transient approach, combined with his obsession of assiduously studying the past in order to break cleanly from it, makes him one of the most intriguing figures in music today.” (New York Times)
Bhatia and Salvant’s creative partnership makes perfect sense when you consider the pair’s shared love of David Lynch — Twin Peaks, in particular. The pair’s version of “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” comes across like a chilly Black Lodge rendition of Roberta Flack, vis-à-vis Laura Palmer, emphasizing the original’s nods not just love, but loss. Alternately pastoral and surreal, Salvant’s mesmerizing delivery and Bhatia’s ice-sculptural production foreground shadowy implications latent within the song’s subconscious: “like the trembling heart of a captive bird that was there at my command.”
McLorin Salvant‘s singular talent for recontextualizing lyrical meaning will be familiar to anyone who has experienced her deadpan readings of problematic songs that were socially acceptable back in the day. "She'll just stare at the audience as she sings," explains Bhatia. "Her voice has all the agility and control in the world, yet that doesn’t stop her from going monotone, or ugly, or outright destructive. It’s an incredibly fluid conception of what the voice can and should do."
Eschewing nostalgia or emulation, Standards Vol. 1 is a deeply personal and decidedly un-standard record that will have you thinking about the possibilities of jazz in an entirely new way. Bhatia’s committedly experimental orientation may also seem at odds with his choice of collaborators for this EP: erudite, virtuosic acoustic instrumentalists who are largely venerated by the jazz orthodoxy. But there’s an unlikely depth to the history and common ground uniting them that dismantles this false dichotomy, making Standards Vol. 1 Bhatia’s most provocative, forward-looking output yet.
"When you put on a record by Ellington, Monk, Ornette, Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda — these artists have such a distinctive approach that you canimmediately tell who it is,” Bhatia explains. “Sensing the human story behind the notes is what got me into jazz in the first place. I feel the same way after hearing two seconds of Madlib, Tim Hecker, or Jlin. All of these artists have a sound that's iconic because it’s personal. For me, that's the unifying factor in all of this.”
Rafiq Bhatia, arrangement, electronics, programming, sound design (on tracks 1-4), guitar (on track 3)
Cecile McLorin Salvant, vocals (on track 2)
Chris Pattishall, piano (on tracks 1, 4), additional programming and sound design (on tracks 1, 2)
Craig Weinrib, drums (on track 3)
Riley Mulherkar, trumpet (on track 1)
Stephen Riley, tenor saxophone (on tracks 1, 3)
New York composer and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia seeks to shatter preconceptions about how much can be said without a word-and, for that matter, who can say it. His music has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most intriguing figures in music today.” In 2014, Bhatia became a member of the band Son Lux.
Composer and guitarist Rafiq Bhatia, “one of the most intriguing figures in music today” (New York Times), is an omnivorous experimentalist who moves fluidly between jazz and rock, acoustic and electronic, and Indian and American musical influences. In his latest project, Standards Vol. 1, he collaborates with some of jazz’s most distinguished musicians on a surprising and oblique take on the canonical jazz repertoire. The results retain some of the texture and feeling of jazz, but sit firmly outside of the music’s conventions. You may have heard these songs before, but you’ve never heard them like this.
This album contains no booklet.