Richard X Bennett

(Ubuntu Music)

The Canadian-born pianist Richard X Bennett’s world travels have given him access to a complex musical palette. Bringing together the world of Indian raga styles with Western classical music and jazz, his sound practices what he calls “theme and destruction.” Now based in the People’s Republic of Brooklyn, New York, Bennett continues that practice with RXB3, his first recording with Ubuntu Music. With bassist Adam Armstrong and new collaborator Julian Edmond, the record is driven by melody, which Bennett uses as a route towards exploration, a process he describes as a tearing apart. Through destruction we are introduced to those vast influences that animate his playing.

Largely consisting of original compositions, RXB3 feels fresh and inviting. Bennett describes the rhythm section’s playing with the word “bounce.” There are certainly elements of that threaded throughout, but the album perhaps is most successful when that groove is fused with moments of deep contemplation. Perhaps this is most evident on tracks like “One Voice,” “Vape” and “Tum Hi Ho.” You hear the very real influences, while also noticing clearly the ways in which Bennett pursues his own path to take us somewhere unexpected.

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