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Bourbon and Rosewater teams Hindustani musician Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on mohan vina (a cross between a sitar and an archtop guitar played with a slide) with bluegrass/new acoustic veterans Jerry Douglas on dobro and Edgar Meyer on acoustic bass. The first six compositions thrive on cross-cultural improvisation, while Bhatt and Douglas each offer a solo piece to complete the album. The project succeeds because Bhatt and Douglas immediately find common ground: Each feels free to explore the textures, rhythms, and melodies of the other’s tradition, while keeping one foot rooted in his own. Meyer acts as an equal in the trio, his classical training and jazz sensibilities stretching the boundaries of the performances. Bhatt was recorded on the left channel and Douglas on the right, making it is possible to examine each voice individually, but after several listenings, the differences in musical styles become less pronounced. On his composition “Bent Notes of the Bauls,” Bhatt creates melodies that could be found in a traditional song from his home in Jaipur, but would not sound out of place on Skip, Hop, and Wobble, an album Douglas and Meyer made with Russ Barenberg. “Many Miles From Home,” a Meyer/Douglas tune with an implied sense of Appalachian dread, presents a structure that is complemented by the microtones and dronings of Bhatt’s instrument. Bhatt has recorded collaborations with Ry Cooder and Taj Mahal, but Bourbon and Rosewater stands as the most engaging and challenging of his cross-cultural projects.

—Matt Watson