'East Meets Jazz' in Annapolis

THE BALTIMORE SUN

In Annapolis tonight, a musical blend of hemispheres will occur. Indian tabla player Sandip Burman will join guitarist Paul Bollenback, saxophonist David Pietro and singer-songwriter-guitarist Tom Pra-sada-Rao for an "East Meets Jazz" concert at the Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis at 8:30.

Burman describes this genre hybrid as a "guided improvisation." The Indian native's tabla -- a pair of drums played by the fingers, palms and wrists -- provides traditional rhythms and melodies in complex meters. Bollenback, Pietro and Prasada-Rao add jazzy flavors to the intricate beats for a robust world sound.

And no two shows are alike. Burman is a self-professed "homeless tabla player." He phones talented musicians, asks them to play with him, and away they go. It's a sporadic system that has worked well in the past. He's performed with jazz giants such as John McLaughlin, Al Di Meola and Jack DeJohnette. Burman was a guest musician on Bela Fleck and the Flecktones' Grammy-winning album, Outbound.

Born in Ethiopia of Indian parents, Prasada-Rao is the Renaissance man of the music scene. Folk, R&B;, rock, country -- he can dominate a crowd with his voice and guitar alone or work with musicians like Ani DiFranco and Peter Yarrow.

Tickets are $18.50. Call the Rams Head Tavern, 33 West St., at 410-268-4545, or go online to www.ramsheadtavern. com.

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