Charu Suri is a New York City based pianist and composer who has quickly made her mark in the music world with her unique blend of traditional Indian Classical music and modern Western Jazz. Regular readers of The Static Dive are familiar with her work. Born in the city of Madurai in South India, her studies eventually brought her to the United States. Since 2018 she has delivered a series of releases exploring both her unique fusion sound as well as more traditional songbook compositions.
Suri’s visionary work has not gone unnoticed. She is a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammys) and was the first female Indian jazz composer to premier work at Carnegie Hall. Recently Charu Suri’s song “Bluesy” won a silver medal for ‘Band Single of the Year’ from the International Singer-Songwriter Association (ISSA) and she also was named Jazz Artist of the Month by the ISSA.
“Book of Ragas (vol. 2)” is the latest EP from Charu Suri, released worldwide to all major streaming services on August 6, 2021. A follow-up to 2019’s “Book of Ragas,” the four song collection of original compositions features vocalist Falsa, Jesse Gerbasi on vibraphone & drums and Charu on piano. Although the record is a sequel of sorts, it has a different mood than that of Vol 1. A raga is a musical term specific to classical Indian music. It describes a framework of notes and mood within which musicians may improvise. On volume 2, the mood changed.
Vol. 1 was all evening ragas (not planned). Vol 2 became all morning ragas. I think the pandemic forced me to start waking up early to hope for a better future, and to create when most of my household was still sleeping (because when they woke up, I’d have no time to myself). So I started to play more morning ragas too. That’s how this volume was born.Charu Suri
From the opening piano crawl of “Raga Jaunpuri” to Falsa’s final fading notes on “Aaj Rang Hai (Today There is Color),” “Book of Ragas (vol. 2)” is a transformative morning musical meditation. The record’s pared down three-part ensemble leaves room for the music to breathe. We can feel the sun as it rises, pushing a morning breeze through an open window. And we can feel the notes dancing on that morning air. It is a beautifully organic recording and each player is in a perfect natural groove with the other. Musically the pieces slide seamlessly from New York to Mumbai and back again as Charu paints an ancient portrait with blue notes and downbeats.
Pour yourself that first of coffee and then cue up “Book of Ragas (vol. 2).” Get your head right for the day with a little bit of Raga Jazz. Listen to the full EP below. You can also hear the song “Asavari” on the Deep Indie Jazz playlist. Follow the links below the audio to connect with Charu Suri. Get on her socials and get in the loop on all of the current and future projects from this uniquely talented artist.