An evening at Bennetts Lane was somewhat bittersweet– the sweet being that this was the first (and last) time that The Raah Project played at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club, extra sweet for a first time attendee at one of the band’s shows (finally!) but bitter as the venue’s were numbered, officially closing a few days later.
It can’t be too frequent an occurrence to have a string section warming up and tuning on stage at a jazz club, but on a mere Thursday evening the line up assembled with strings, horns and rhythm accompanying Tamil Rogeon and Ryan Ritchie of The Raah Project launched into a first taste of their new album. Think smooth sounds, fuelled vocals and not to mention the subtle clanking of glass at the bar in the background.
Dawn to the Night was a welcomed early addition to the night’s performance, being a fan of The Raah Project’s first album Score. For a band usually doing the ‘weird shit’ in the theatres, this seemed a more than receptive setting.
More pronounced beats and dissonance with rapped and sung lyrics in Kill me in the Summer was a succinct summary of all the things that The Raah Project somehow manage to coherently combine – classical, jazz, soul, hip hop and whatever sits between. But having drawn attention to the contemporary EDM potential in the melody of Hurricane of You, it’s hard not to smirk at the thought of an Avicii or David Guetta type of character working this behind the decks. Thankfully, the saxophone harmonies work beautifully here without that sort of thing – no change, and definitely no EDM required.
And so the sounds continued sharing the origins of Jazzbar 2025, the fancy rhythms of If Not Me, and the classy sounds of All of Your Things.
But sometimes, you need to be careful about you ask for. Offering a freestyle rap set to word suggestions from the audience in lieu of scatting was bound to deliver the weird and wonderful. On this occasion, the exemplar vocabulary of those present came up with pinball, chartreuse, elephant, hairspray, neck, ice cream, desire and Tyrannosaurus Rex – all of which were combined impressively, to roaring cheers.
And then with Fire Where I Been, it was all over. But lots of listening planned for the new album, Take Me Elsewhere now in my possession…