Southern Brothers – Gopalnath Newton Srinivason (1999) SACD ISO

Southern Brothers – Gopalnath Newton Srinivason (1999)
SACD Rip | SACD ISO | DSD64 2.0 > 1-bit/2.8224 MHz | 47:57 minutes | Full Scans included | 2,14 GB
Genre: Jazz, Folk, World, Indian Classical, Carnatic, Fusion | Publisher (label): Water Lily Acoustics – WLA-CS-56-SACD

Southern Brothers was recorded in a mere 5 hours. It must have taken many more to write the 19 pages of liner notes that accompany the CD & attempt to locate it within a celebrated tradition of cross-cultural musical encounters. While the album is certainly interesting as an experiment, it does not achieve a great new synthesis, but instead, reflects the difficulty of actually bridging the gulf between cultures. It sounds as though Gopalnath & Newton are literally working out their relationships as the recording session unfolds. They appear like 2 congenial strangers who meet in a formal setting & then proceed to manufacture the illusion of a very heady conversation. Nevertheless, Southern Brothers does contain segments of dazzling virtuosity. The difficulties of the encounter are also interesting to observe.
~Joshua Levin

Jazz Times:
A kind of role reversal takes place on this session. Here we have an Indo-jazz interaction in which James Newton, the thoroughly matriculated jazz voice, performs on flute, an instrument familiar to Indian contexts. Meanwhile, K. Gopalnath plays saxophone, sharp of articulation & with an angular phrasing, in a fashion that is clearly estranged from jazz standards. Somehow, the 2 get along well, conversing in a kind of cross-cultural hybrid language, coated with the percussive voice of P. Srinivasan on the Carnatic drum, the mridangam. Cultural differences & improvisational fluidity mark their dialogue, & they fittingly dedicate the recording to both the South Indian musician T.R. Mahalingham, & Rahsaan Roland Kirk, the jazz icon who had his ear open eastward.
~Josef Woodard

All About Jazz:
In a fastly widening global prospective, we must remind ourselves that us humans have more in common than being divided by differences in culture, race or ethnicity. “Southern Brothers” well emplifies this, 1st with its title, referring to Southern India, where Gopalnath & Srinivasan are from, & for Newton, where he spent his summers with his grandparents in the American South. Both geographical areas have rich musical cultures. It is surprising for Western audiences to learn that the music of India in which they are familiar with via Ravi Shankar is called Hindustrani music popular in Northern India. However, in Southern India, Karnatak music is played & has equal stature to that of its northern counterpart. It is new to Western audiences, but has increasingly been spread from interest in “world music.” Karnatak originated from the ancient Dravidians, & revolves around fixed formats. It is hard to see why its structured framework has appealed to jazz musicians, as improvisation is what makes jazz evolve. Yet the elements from both genres mix together like complimentarily ingredients in a tossed salad.
Each piece traces elements from Karnatak & jazz, never sounding competitive, nor is there even a hint of awkwardly playing in creating space & solos. On the 1st piece, Gopalnath starts like a wandering spirit in the wilderness, like John the Baptist preparing the path for who is to arrive. Newton enters, reaffirming the beauty he “sees.” Gopalnath, pleased at the affirmation, sets to push the pace, but is never hurried. Newton makes quick steps at 1 point, like a person crying & whirling at once. Gopalnath joins the pace, then Newton duets as if crying outloud at once.

The 2nd piece has Gopalnath starting like a lone tickle of water, then Newton continues evolving into a running stream. Srinivasan’s percussion is like that of rocks bouncing downstream a river. As the music churns, with Newton’s flutes cascades as Srinivasan pours on the rhythm dance. Then Gopalnath takes over Newton’s lead, as if the sax is the wandering stream, cutting channels. Then the baton is relayed back to Newton pouring dynamic fluid lines. Again, Gopalnath picks up the baton, moving at a slightly quicker tempo. Gradually Newton joins in at the end to support his partners.

The last piece contains a motif with a whiff of blues Rahsaan Roland Kirk style. Newton & Gopalnath work into the motif, expanding like stars pouring into a newly formed universe. At 1 point, Gopalnath’s sax cries like a lone soul lost in the madness of urbania.


1. Ragan Mohanam 6:06
2. Ragan Ganamurte 9:56
3. Rahsaan Breathes Freely Now 4:20
4. Ragan Hamsavinodini 20:12
5. Yusef Dreams in Eastern Colours 7:13

K.Gopalnath – saxophone
J. Newton – flute
P. Srinivasan – mridangam


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