For a drummer as accomplished and inquisitive as Sunny Jain, music is something more than the sum of its parts, and his group's music extends far beyond the restrictive borders of labeled genres. AS IS, the debut album by the Sunny Jain Collective for NCM East Records, is a joyous celebration and synthesis of the musical cultures from the East and West.
On AS IS, Jain weaves the multi-cultural threads of Indian and American cultures into a colorful musical tapestry, the common ground being the spirit of the drum. "I was fascinated at a very young age by the sound of tablas [Indian drums], but even more so by the rhythms of Indian music. My upbringing immersed me in different types of music from my cultural heritage, all while exposing me to the music of America, specifically Jazz." Jain's unique sound is filled with subtlety, energy and versatility, reflecting a talent wise beyond his ears. His sense of originality transcends mere technical prowess and is instead captured in the overall picture of composition, musicality and group sound.
Born and raised in Rochester, New York and currently residing in Manhattan, Jain presents a group that is refreshingly open to all musical possibilities. Featuring guitarist/sitar guitarist Rez Abbasi, acoustic bassist Gary Wang, tenor saxophonist Steve Welsh, and Jain, SJC avoids clichés and keeps the musical wheels turning full speed ahead. AS IS runs the gamut from jazz to free to breakbeats to Bhangra (Punjabi Indian) beats and tackles a gorgeous breadth of tunes, from the trippy "Horizontal Pathway" to the dancey "Aap Jaisa Koi." Mixed and mastered by Grammy nominee producer/engineer Paul Wickliffe [Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Ravi Shankar], AS IS truly captures the beautiful palate of sounds created by SJC.
"Growing up a first-generation Indian-American presented many cultural conflicts that were hard to reconcile at the time. This group allows me to express myself as an Indian-American and is a medium by which I can link the two cultures I grew up in. My background feeds my inspiration and vice-versa, music heals the cultural disparity for me. This album really captures where I was then and where I am now, and is a documented moment in time in an ongoing process. It's simply "AS IS."
Coming off a recent sold-out performance at The Concert for Peace in South Asia in New York City with rave reviews, a world-tour is in the works for the Sunny Jain Collective.