Today marks the release of Phase 2 of Brian Adler’s Helium Project. Both Phase 1 and Phase 2 can now be purchased digitally here. Adler has been crafting Helium since 2009. His mission was to expand the recording studio around the globe. Alder’s music blurs the lines between “jazz” and “world” music and Helium is a delightfully uplifting representation of his musical philosophy.
Despite his background in American jazz, Alder has open ears and Argentinian roots. “The spread and cross-pollination of musical languages and culture is happening all over the place”, he commented. “When I walk down the street in Queens where I live, I hear hip-hop, Bollywood music, jazz, Turkish music, and Brazilian music within a few blocks”. Before beginning Helium, he formed the Prana Trio in Boston and eventually toured in the United States and Germany. The trio specialized in exploring the ancient spiritual texts of Rumi, Hafiz, Lao Tzu, Kabir, Issa and others. They produced three albums: The Singing Image of Fire (2009), Pranam (2006) and After Dark (2004). Frank Calrberg, one of Adlers professors at the New England Conservatory, is an acclaimed composer in the art of fusing interpreted texts with unique, challenging and often twisted jazz compositions. Adler cites Carlberg as a mentor for the trio as they gathered texts. Adler’s application of the female voice in Phase 1 in addition to his lyrical method of drumming can all be heard throughout the entire Helium project. “The [human] voice is very important to me”, Adler added, “many people can relate to it can add many dimensions to the music. Even if there is no vocalist, I often still consider what one might do in terms of phrasing. And this can transfer to my drumming or to composing”.