Painted Diaries practice what they preach on the new album. The CD shows that music transcends all borders as its 14 tracks easily blend soulful world jazz and rock with the rhythms of Khan’s Bengali roots. The outstanding performers who produced these sounds also move beyond categories: Mbalafunk creator Graham Hawthorne (drums) and Funky Poets founder Paul Frazier (bass) tour in the David Byrne Band; celebrated sax man Andy Snitzer hails from Paul Simon’s touring band; and R&B vocalist Brent Carter was the lead singer for Tower of Power and has been heard on Broadway. Among the mix of other talents joining them are multi-genre singer-songwriter Tom Morrison, emerging jazz vocalist Jennifer Grimm, bassist Paul Haleem, sax player Adam Adelkopf and others.
Add Khan’s own signature guitar style, which blends Pat Metheny with Indian phrasing, and the musical mix offers "a sonic example of what our world can be, working in peace and harmony," he says.
Why Painted Diaries? Khan says each day brings with it a collection of short stories about life, but most of these tales end up in people’s diaries, not on the evening news.
There is so much that happens every day, everywhere in this world. The Painted Diaries is a canvas that collects short stories that over the years touched my heart, painted using musical notes and instruments instead of brushes.
Khan’s own story is as geo-cultural as his music. Born into a famous musical family in Bangladesh, he was raised on countryman Ravi Shankar and other classic Indian artists but like every teenager quickly fell for the guitar and American music. He headed to New York for school, then explored South America, and as part of UN missions, lived and traveled in Africa during the 1990s. After a few years’ rest from playing jazz around the globe with the UN peacekeeping force, Khan has recently returned to that musical mission, driven in part by his passion for the cause of Darfur.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait as long for the next installment of Khan’s sonic tales. He says his next project is halfway done, and Khan and his guitar, plus special guests from the CD lineup, will be touring North America throughout the year.