Jason Carter & Ragatal - Fragments Of Grace

Tuesday 1st June 1999
Jason Carter & Ragatal - Fragments Of Grace
Jason Carter & Ragatal - Fragments Of Grace

STYLE: Roots/Acoustic
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Reviewed by Trevor Kirk

Jason Carter is a guitarist who you read about in CR43 and is one of those virtuosos who can slot into any musical style he chooses, be it classical, jazz, roots or blues - and all those appear on this gem of an album. He is joined by Ragatal, a trio consisting of Stephen Bingham on electric and acoustic violins, Steve Lawson on electric bass guitar and Sanju Vishnu Sahai, one of the acknowledged masters of that quintessentially Indian musical instrument, the tabla. The results of this fusion of electric and acoustic, Asian and European, is some of the best improvisational music I've heard for a long time, the highlight being "Chant", 17 and a half minutes of jammin' based on a simple chord pattern that allows everyone to stretch out and do their thing. Other tasty morsels are "Lagrimas" (Spanish for teardrops), and "Celestial Hymn", both in the tradition of classical guitar composers such as Rodrigo; "Cosmic Grace", a turbulent brew of a tune interpreting the words of Genesis chapter 1 verses 1 and 2; and "Inner Strength", a joyous five minute romp, with all stops pulled out (if you have stops on guitars and violins and tablas, but you know what I mean). Playing time at over 57 minutes is generous, and guitar enthusiasts of whatever tradition would do well to seek this out, if only to marvel at the Carter technique. Recommended.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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