Raga Bop Trio – Raga Bop Trio

January 01, 1970



(Abstract Logix)




Former Journey percussion man Steve Smith has become at least
as notorious for collaborations with Stanley Clarke and Michael Brecker.
Sax-blower George Brooks’ resume impresses with names like John McLaughlin and
Larry Coryell, as well as those of various Indian players. On Raga Bop Trio, Smith and Brooks tinker with
the ideas of a lesser-known talent named Prasanna. And several stews bubble with
ideas by two or more of the trio. It’s a promising menu.


While RBT doesn’t manage Birds
of Fire
-level breakthrough, its lofty aspirations translate into
listenable, often stimulating sounds. “Tug of War” and “Dubai Dance” set the
bar high. The first injects classical Indian tones and rhythms into some
fusion-noodly runs, while the second changes time signatures as a restless diva
might swap Jimmy Choos. Also likely to attract notice is the three-way
collaboration, “The Geometry of Rap,” which finds Prasanna-the-guitarist doing
a rather fresh jam of rap with the percussive vocals associated with energetic
tabla/sitar runs. One of the set’s humbler-feeling pieces, Brooks’ “Love and
Hunger” provides some respite. “Ironically,” by the guitarist, engages through most
of its five and a half minutes of rather Latin-jazzy twists and turns. His
“Garuda” effects some nice tones, and a few sweet intersections with Brooks,
but needs to check its compass more often; ending up resembling a


Closer “Katyayini” suffers from issues shadowing the outing –
yes, the guitar-as-lower-register-sitar seems fresh – for a minute or two. But
for five, propelled by too much directionless plucking and percussion, it’s likely
to prompt, “Those guys have promise, but need more work — along with better
compositions,” from a passerby.


War,” “Ironically,” “Love and Hunger,” “The Geometry of Rap” MARY LEARY


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