Like the festive wine and fruit drink the album takes its name from, the music on Mariah Parker’s “Sangria” is, indeed, an intoxicating melange of diverse sonic ingredients. The album’s subtitle: “An Indo Latin Jazz Musical Experience” further hints at the heady fusion contained within.
Mariah shines on piano and santur, a Middle Eastern hammered dulcimer. She is joined by a stellar cast of musicians which includes Paul McCandless on sax and English horn, Matthew Montfort, who is well-known from the group Ancient Future, on his signature scalloped fretboard guitar and flamenco guitar, and Mindia Devi Klein on flute and bansuri, whose musical camaraderie helped catalyze this project. The ensemble is anchored by the stunning tabla drumming of Debopriyo Sarkar and Anuradha Pal, percussion by Duru Demetrius, and Kash Killion on bass, cello, and sarangi..
The album, which is beautifully packaged, features liner notes on each song, which give insight into the composition. The music is exotic yet accessible, and while some of the international musical formats may be unfamiliar, your tapping foot and nodding head are signs that your body is speaking the same language.
If musicians of different nationalities and genres can come together and create such harmony, world leaders could learn a lesson from their example. “Sangria” is a wonderful cross-cultural musical experience and I give it my highest recommendation.
— Michael Diamond