Shankar: Paper Nut
Shankar (10-string double violin, drum machine)
Song For Everyone (ECM 1286823795-2)
Shankar (10-string double violin, drum machine),
Jan Garbarek (sax), Zakir Hussain (tabla, congas), Trilok Gurtu (drums).
Composed by Shankar.
Recorded: Oslo, Norway, September 1984
Rating: 83/100 (learn more)
When the esoteric German jazz label ECM started focusing some of its attention on world music jazz, L. Shankar was one of its rising stars. The many-named Shankar (Lakshminarayanan Shankar, L. Shankar, Shankar, Shenkar) joined fellow ECM recording stars Jan Garbarek and Zakir Hussain for this outing. Percussion master Trilok Gurtu also appears.
I would call "Paper Nut" Indian/Jazz/World trance music. Its bouncing beat, aided by a low-register tuned drum machine, is very similar to dub world music rhythms that would be heard years later. Hussain and Gurtu are, quite frankly, not called upon to do much in this tune except provide a constant beat. Shankar's violin acts as a drone of sorts when not in melodic use. He and Garbarek partake in a very pleasing call and response throughout the tune. The melody, though not often stated, is a charming collection of notes that add up to a fun time for all.
As for that drum machine I mentioned, its use is much less successful on other tunes on the album. In fact it mars a few of them. Why would you use a drum machine when you had two of the world's greatest percussionists a few feet away? This was when Shankar, now known as Shenkar, started making some strange music and career decisions that in this critic's humble opinion started leading him on a path that would get him lost.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky