Shakti: Isis

Track

Isis

Group

Shakti

CD

The Best of Shakti (Moment Records MRCD 1011)

Buy Track

Musicians:

John McLaughlin (guitar),

L Shankar (violin), Zakir Hussain (tablas and percussion), T.H. Vinayakram (ghatam and percussion)

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Composed by John McLaughlin & L Shankar

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Recorded: London, England, August 1976

Albumcoverjohnmclaughlin-thebestofshakti

Rating: 87/100 (learn more)

"Isis" originally appeared on Shakti's album A Handful of Beauty. At first, it is a sad ballad. Its opening theme is proffered by violinist L Shankar. Western melody and Eastern music don't always go hand in hand. Shankar was always more comfortable performing music from his own idiom. Outside of that, everything was new and experimental. But from time to time he was able to lock in on Western emotions. This was one of those times. His slow and sad movement is followed by a McLaughlin rip-fest. To be honest, this section is not that musical. It is more a demonstration of speed and skill than of communicative music. It is still full of amazing stuff, but McLaughlin's detractors could point to this section and claim it as an example of the guitarist's excesses, and they would be right. McLaughlin steps aside for a Zakir Hussain tabla solo. Hussain is the best in the world. His intricate power, precision and speed are mind-numbing. But unlike McLaughlin's solo, this turn is very musical. "Isis" is a keeper, and a rare performance in which McLaughlin's bandmates outshine him.

Reviewer: Walter Kolosky

Related Links

In Conversation with John McLaughlin by Walter Kolosky
The South Asian Tinge in Jazz by Ted Gioia
The Dozens: John McLaughlin on Standards by Walter Kolosky


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