Remember Shakti: Luki
Saturday Night in Bombay (Verve 440 014 164-2)
Shankar Mahadevan (vocals), Debashish Bhattacharya (Hindustani slide guitar), U. Shrinivas (mandolin), V. Selvaganesh (kanjira, ghatam, mridangam), Sivamani (drums, percussion), Bhavani Shankar (dholak, pakhawaj), Rashan Ali, Aziz (dholak), Taufiq Qureshi (def, dafli, percussion).
Composed by John McLaughlin.
Recorded: live in Bombay, India, December 8, 2000
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
"Luki" is as close as John McLaughlin would ever get to playing on a pop song. Of course, the tune is an Indian pop song, so what else would you expect?
The core members of the group Remember Shakti invited many of India's finest musicians to join them for two evenings of concerts, one of which was preserved on Saturday Night in Bombay, Grammy nominated for best World Music album. Many of these performers had grown up in the Indian musical tradition but were quite influenced by McLaughlin's and Hussain's seminal '70s Indo-jazz band Shakti. This made them ideal for an Indian-jazz improvisational get-together.
"Luki" includes plenty of frenetic and catchy hooks. Shankar Mahadevan raises his expressive voice in unison with the melodic instruments. McLaughlin and Bhattacharya engage is some impressive calls and responses that represent the jazz element in this highly regimented piece. Mahadevan dominates the middle section with syllabic singing in counterpoint to the rhythms from a boatload of gifted Indian percussionists. The joyous opening riff, at home in any Bollywood movie, returns to bring the short tune to an end.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky