The Squid's Ear Magazine

Gregg, J.J.: Opening Up (IntangibleCat)

Drawing listeners into a meditative state, Oregon-based sitar player and experimental musician J.J. Gregg's album presents a lilting and bright rendition of Raag Rageshree, Raag Yaman offers a uniquely developed and comprehensive journey through the beauty of South Asian Classical music and Raag Chandrakauns, an interesting melodic to aid in personal meditation.

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product information:

Label: IntangibleCat
Catalog ID: CAT-21
Squidco Product Code: 33170

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2018
Country: USA
Packaging: Cardboard Gatefold
Recorded by Gushing Cloud and Intangible Cat.


J.J. Gregg-sitar

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Descriptions, Reviews, &c.

"J.J. Gregg's new album Opening Up draws listeners deep into a meditative state. Each raga provides a different mood while taking the listener on a journey unique to their state of mind. The first track, a lilting and bright rendition of Raag Rageshree, explores speed and sound in a most refreshing way. In track two, Raag Yaman offers a uniquely developed and comprehensive journey through the beauty of South Asian Classical music. In the concluding track on the album, Raag Chandrakauns, deep sonorous tones take hold in the beginning and blend with contemplative tones that yield intriguing melodic development while maintaining a stable ground to aid in personal meditation."-IntangibleCat

Artist Biographies

"A dynamic yet meditative sitar player, J.J. Gregg performs improvised and pre-composed music. With over a decade of hands-on training in India, J.J. immerses western experimental and jazz music into the traditional world of the sitar. He has performed on the sitar in India, Japan, Thailand, and throughout the U.S.

Born and raised in rural Illinois, J.J. spent his teenage years performing and recording experimental rock music. In the year 2000, J.J. moved to Pune, Maharashtra, India to attend a study abroad program and met internationally renowned sitar player Ustad Usman Khan. For the past twenty-one years, J.J. has studied sitar and South Asian Classical Music under Khan's guidance at Naad Mandir in Pune, India. He returned to India seven more times to study with Khan, most recently in December 2018.

In 2016 J.J. Gregg teamed up with dancer Peter de Grasse to create 'Malkauns Meditation,' a collaborative performance based on improvisation in contemporary dance and South Asian Classical Music. The piece premiered at Whitman College in 2017, and they performed together in 2018 at both the Seattle International Dance Festival's 'Art on the Fly' and the UNESCO affiliated World Dance Congress in Mumbai, India.

Just released in August 2022, JJ teams up with tabla player Pavan Kanekal on the concept album 're-cycling'. Recent solo sitar albums include, 'in delicate balance,' in 2020 and 'opening up,' released in April 2018. In December 2021, J.J. Gregg and poet Sherman released their collaboration 'Hell might be a place,' which combines poetry, sitar, and improvisational percussion and hearkens back to J.J.'s many years as an experimental rocker and recording artist.

J.J. Gregg lives in Salem, Oregon where he teaches private and group sitar lessons. In addition to his years of study at Naad Mandir in India, J.J. Gregg holds a BA in Mathematical Economics from Colorado College and a Masters of Education from University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition to performing and teaching, J.J. continues to increase productivity in his organic garlic patch and front yard garden with the help of his curious (and hungry) toddler."

-J.J. Gregg Website (

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Track Listing:

1. Raag Rageshree 11:25

2. Raag Yaman 20:18

3. Raag Chandrakauns 17:17

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
Stringed Instruments
Guitarists, &c.
Cultural Musics from Around the World
Solo Artist Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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