Shakti: Isis






The Best of Shakti (Moment Records MRCD 1011)

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John McLaughlin (guitar),

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


Composed by John McLaughlin & L Shankar


Recorded: London, England, August 1976


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

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