NYC Jazz Record

Rajiv Jayaweera Pistils

Outside in Music, 2020

Pistils is Rajiv Jayaweera’s debut album. A New-York-based drummer of Sri Lankan origins raised in Australia, Jayaweera finds inspiration in his family history but also present-day New York. His is a delicate approach, almost intimate, as evident in the two versions of the title track—the first one benefitting from Lara Bello singing in an undecipherable language and the second relying on Chris Cheek’s fluid tenor saxophone. Jayaweera does not take any solos, except for a brief temple drum introduction and an interlude in “Ellstandissa”. But the relentless, shifting and yet almost understated pulse is certainly at the center of his project. Subtlety is the defining quality of Jayaweera’s approach to percussion and is reminiscent of Paul Motian. The musicians could not be more sympathetic to Jayaweera’s vision. Of note are Cheek’s numerous and enjoyable solos along with his blending and conversing with Hugh Stuckey’s guitar. Parks displays his personal approach as he seems particularly at ease with the material; “Galadari” and “The Elephant”, which denote a jazzier flavor, could have been composed by Parks himself to the extent that rather complex rhythmic figurations are delivered with utter fluidity and simplicity. A very promising debut.

Marco Cangiano