According to the liner notes, Jhaptal refers to "a frequently used 10 beat rhythmatic cycle, or "tal" in northern India." Guitarist Jaime Stewardson applies this approach here drawing upon his interest in Indian Music, though frankly this stuff does not sound like your typical Indian music. The result is a set of nine original compositions of what one might categorize as world jazz with a lean towards an exotic bass line. Stewardson is joined by an all east coast crew consisting of Tony Malaby (tenor), Alexei Tsiganov (vibes), John Herbert (bass) and George Schuller (drums) forming one very tight quintet.
I would be less than honest if I did not state that this was not an easy listen but it did spark an interest. For those accustomed to typical straight-ahead, contemporary or traditional bebop jazz, this album would be a departure. The music is sophisticated, heavily improvised and quite challenging. No straight melodies, catchy beats or familiar rhythms here. The music comes from a different direction with spontaneous melodies and an interpretation of classical Indian or serial music.
The musicianship is first rate and the many solos by members of the band provide ample proof of this. Vibraphonist Tsiganov delivers impressive passages beginning with the opening number "T Can Shuffle." Malaby’s tenor is quite expressive throughout the session. As for the leader, he clearly comes through with an exquisite performance on every track.
Jhaptal takes you on an interesting journey not normally ventured to. If you’re tired of the same old warn out jazz sounds, try a listen to some fresh new and creative material made not for the heart or the soul, but for the mind. A ten-beat rhythm cycle of new jazz expressions for the brain.