Burnt Hibiscus combines the surrealistic poetry of Erin Armstrong with the sublime vocal stylings of Sheela Bringi. The lyrics for the suite illuminate the dream-like quality of life in Los Angeles, which is brought to life by some of the most fiercely creative musicians in the city.
In order to establish unique tonal palates, Armstrong used 7 different traditional Indian ragas, or scales for each piece. In addition, the musicians in the band all get their own feature to further develop the character of the individual songs.
The album is slated for a 2016 release on Orenda Records. Here's a teaser video shot of the session.
Jon Armstrong -Tenor Sax. Electric Guitar.
Sheela Bringi - Vocals. Harmonium. Harp. Bansuri Flute.
Clinton Patterson - Trumpet
Ryan Dragon - Trombone
Stefan Kac - Tuba
Erin Armstrong- Clarinet. Bass Clarinet. Flute.
Gavin Templeton - Alto Sax. Bass Clarinet. Flute. Baritone Sax.
Brian Walsh - Bass Clarinet. Clarinet.
Tina Raymond - Drum Set
Chris Payne - Kanjira. Krakebs. Frame Drum. Pandero. Bongos.
Words about Burnt Hibiscus:
"The melodies provoke a simple, crisp lyricism... a quality the ensemble exploits to launch into intricate rhythmic passages and harmonic excursions that stretch far out from the song's opening moments. Massively creative at both conception and conclusion, and one of the very best albums to come out in 2016. Perhaps the very best."
-Dave Sumner, Bird Is the Worm
"Drones of one sort or another lend the work a subcontinental flavor throughout, and the music feels both familiar and exotic, incorporating conventional jazz instrumentation as well as Bringi's traditional folk instruments - bansuri flute, harmonium, Celtic harp... The tunes never push, never scream, never hammer at the door of the sacred, but charm open the way to a higher reality."
-Mel Minter, Musically Speaking
"Multi-instrumentalist/band leader Jon Armstrong's new album "Burnt Hibiscus" is a prime example of continued artistic evolution of the form. He eschews concern over genre label for the restless curiosity which has always served him well."
Maxwell Chandler, Our Man on the Coast
"...a gorgeous, elaborate suite for 10- piece jazz ensemble meant to evoke a love of life in Los Angeles, and incorporating harmonium, bansuri, harp, and sung poetry in admirable ways."
Steve Smith, The Log Journal