Richard X Bennett
"Experiments With Truth"
If you recognize the title of Richard X Bennett's CD, "Experiments With Truth," as part of the title of Mahatma Gandhi's autobiography, you're on your way to understanding the record's unusual propulsive music. Bennett is a jazz pianist who spent many years in Mumbai, immersed in Indian music. Although he acknowledges that piano is not a raga instrument, his music is firmly based on ragas. But these ragas are different, filtered through an American sensibility and influenced by jazz greats like Charles Mingus and Ornette Coleman.
Bennett's keyboard work is never less than probing, but two saxophonists are also vital to the session. While Lisa Parrott anchors the horns on baritone sax, Matt Parker goes wild on tenor. This instrumentation, when combined with Bennett's compositions, results in a wonderfully frenetic merger of Eastern and Western strains. The rhythm section of Adam Armstrong on bass and Alex Wyatt on drums rounds out the quintet here and nicely supports Bennett on a simultaneous piano trio release, "What Is Now." On this second CD, the prolific pianist offers engagingly esoteric, but downright catchy, songs.