Drift is a New Delhi based jazz trio that was formed in 2009. The band has toured extensively and played numerous gigs since its inception. They have recently come out with their debut album titled Nico – homegrown jazz music at its best. The band on the album consists of Reuben Narain on drums, Pranai Gurang on guitars and Sahil Warsi on the double bass, though their line-up has changed since then. Nico is named after Nicholas Giordani, a French tenor saxophonist who played with Drift in and around 2011. He sadly passed away some time back and the album is dedicated to him.
The album starts with ‘Quantime‘. Composed by Reuben, it is about his discussions with Nicholas about quantum physics and the concept of parallel timelines. This is brought out by having parallel time signatures intertwine with each other, connecting and disconnecting as the song progresses.
The second song ‘Envelope‘ is a light-hearted and fast-paced mood changer. The drum rhythms on most of the album and especially on ‘Envelope‘ and ‘Tune Tarantino‘ try to contrast the guitar rather than match it. This gives the whole album a very modern feel.
By ‘To Beginnings‘ the double bass really comes into the spotlight. The raw sound of the double bass steals the show through the rest of the album. It is also interesting to note that the entire album was recorded live in a makeshift studio in One World College of Music with only three to four takes per song and no overdubs. This adds to the authentic jazz feel.
‘Elysian Fields‘ is a slow dark song. The guitar tone is soft and perfectly suited to the feel of the song. The band manages to create an enchanting soundscape even with just three instruments and a soft, almost cautious manner of playing. The guitar improvisation is very sober and is backed excellently by the rhythm section.
The next few songs- ‘Ten One‘,’Not So Blue’ and ‘In A Turn Of Events‘ all employ the concept of contrasting guitar and rhythm sections in their own distinct ways. The final song ‘Feathers Flight‘ is a slow romantic number that ends the album. Pranai’s guitar takes the spotlight on this one and though it’s a lot less flashy than the other songs, it is really beautiful.
The guitar playing deserves special mention but this is one album where the rhythm section is as proactive as the lead instrument. The album makes for a great experience even for the non jazz listening lay man. The band is currently working on new material with their new bass guitarist Saurabh Suman who replaces Sahid and hope to release another album by the end of 2014.