"There’s a meditative quality to the songs, which mix elements including raga, Americana and jazz." The Sacramento Bee
"His sound is equal parts jazz, folk, blues, spirituals and world music." The Union
" Drawing freely from Hindustani classical, delta blues and jazz without being bound by them, what’s noteworthy about Songs of Universal Peace is how naturally Hammond and Nair blend these traditions and depart from them." Dusted Magazine
"Nair and Hammond provide a similar blueprint for cooperation, and their songs are a breeding ground for mettā. Each leans against and is supported by a mutual respect for the other's sound." Allaboutjazz.com
THE CARNATIC BLUES OF ROSS HAMMOND AND JAY NAIR
“I’ve played with a lot of Indian musicians, and Jay is the guy I’ve learned the most from in terms of how you approach structure,” he says. “He says don’t worry about the tala and rhythmic cycle. We’re two guys, listen to each other. You have this tonal center, this scale or mode. Don’t go out of it. Simple stuff that’s so powerful. What we’re doing is finding a bridge between a traditional American blues and roots music, and combining that with raga.”
SANSKRIT JAZZ FUSION FOR UNIVERSAL PEACE.
Local musician Jay Nair, who is releasing an album with guitarist Ross Hammond called "Songs of Universal Peace," sees two types of peace.
One where people respect one another without directly engaging with each other, the other where you actively celebrate other people and their differences. It’s this second definition that he sings about on his record, set for release on April 14.
The hope that others be happy and free from suffering must also extend to those you don't know and even to those you don't like. Yikes! Never fear. Along comes a proper tool for mettā in the form of Songs Of Universal Peace by American improvising guitarist Ross Hammond and the Indian devotional-music singer Jay Nair.
SONGS OF UNIVERSAL PEACE
On Songs of Universal Peace, guitarist Ross Hammond partners with Jay Nair, a vocalist trained in the Hindustani tradition. Nair is, like Hammond, a highly responsive, deeply soulful musician whose substantial chops never undercut the emotional resonance of the music. Drawing freely from Hindustani classical, delta blues and jazz without being bound by them, what’s noteworthy about Songs of Universal Peace is how naturally Hammond and Nair blend these traditions and depart from them.
The two started playing together, creating improvisational music influenced by Appalachian folk and Indian devotional musics. The result is their new release "Universal Peace" on Prescott Recordings.
"Jay and I aren't playing traditional Raga music," said Hammond. "I'd never claim to be a Raga musician. But what we are doing is using our ears as much as the tools from our separate disciplines. We're improvising and communicating with one another."
Sitting on and thumping a percussion box, Nair complemented Hammond's ever-varying cycles with his dreamy tenor, sounding a bit romantic in the Krishna bridegroom sense. We tranced out to "Salvation" and rose refreshed, knowing that a blind listener would never have guessed the guitarist was wearing a baseball cap.