Concert Review: Brandon Terzic Trio performing at “the Brooklyn Raga Massive”

Date: May 9, 2013
Venue: Tea Lounge (NY)

Review by Dawoud Kringle

When I walked in to the Tea Lounge for Brandon Terzic’s Trio performance for the Brooklyn Raga Massive (I was a little late. Sorry guys), the boys were playing for dear life, simultaneously caressing lovely poetics from the maqam and pummeling it into submission.  Rufus Cappadocia’s solo was amazing; a Hendrixian powerhouse. Matt Kilmer’s percussion solo was as solid and innovative as ever. Terzic’s oud playing took the maqam and dipped it in a pool of jazz inspired deviations which always landed in its feet.

The next piece, “Hamza El Hendrix” was slower and more meditative; but no less passionate.  Rufus Cappadocia solo was brilliant. Terzic made the same quote in his solo. But then they brought it back to the original melody back to the original.

Then Cappadocia picked up a an instrument he’d constructed (it was a guitar altered with paired nylon strings, frets that only went up to the 7th position, and altered tuning) He did a solo that was moody, longing, and sad – almost like an angry lover. Kilmer came in with a mortician beat, and was followed by Terzic. After some time of musing, the song cried out in anguish, and room was made for Terzic’s solo. Then the song began to dance with wild abandon before fading into its own oblivion.

Terzic picked up his ngoni (an instrument he later described to me as “the greatest instrument in the world”), and Cappadocia returned to his cello. Terzic hung delicate crystalline raindrops in the air with the tiny I stringent. Then, a rhythm in an 8 beat cycle arose. Kilmer offered a dreamy shimmering beat against Terzic’s osstinato, and Rufus established the melody.  Cappadocia’s solo was powerful. Terzic took a solo that evoked the feel of a kora. Cappadocia took another solo that seemed shades of Jaco at times.

A brief word on the jam session that followed. Terzic began on his ngoni.  Michael Gam (bass, sarod) played bass. After a brief meditative intro, they began a North African flavored groove, over which the bass took the lead. Then Terzic took a solo. The clearly improvised piece had a cheerful, playful feel.

A percussionist joined them. A dreamy intro gave way to an Arabic/North African flavored groove. It morphed into an almost Oregon-esque exploration. After the solos, the piece seemed to try accelerating, but didn’t.

At this point, owing to a previous commitment, I wasn’t able to stay for the rest of the jam session. With reluctance, I bid good night to the Brooklyn Raga Massive.

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