Remember Shakti: Shringar
Saturday Night in Bombay (Verve 440 014 164-2)
John McLaughlin (guitar),
Zakir Hussain (tabla), V. Selvaganesh (kanjira, ghatam, mridangam), Shiv Kumar Sharma (santur).
Composed by Shiv Kumar Sharma.
Recorded: live in Bombay, India, December 8, 2000
Rating: 91/100 (learn more)
Jazz musicians have been interested in Eastern music for decades. But the reverse interest from Indian musicians and listeners is a more recent phenomenon. Because of this sea change, jazz music is thriving in India these days. Western jazz musicians now travel there to play festival after festival. Remember Shakti's performance in Bombay in 2000 was another landmark in this exciting relationship between two great musical traditions.
Guest artist Shiv Kumar Sharma composed "Shringar." Sharma is a maestro of the santur (santoor), a hammered dulcimer played with curved mallets. Remember Shakti provides understated but brilliant support for him during the 26 minutes of this deeply involving piece. In the Carnatic tradition, Sharma builds tension one degree at a time. He is in no hurry. Ninety-five percent of the performance is a meditative setup for the finale. When the end of the tune is finally near, McLaughlin, Sharma, Hussain and Selvaganesh let loose. Cascading Indo-jazz notes and emphatic beats fall from the ceiling of Fhanmukhananda Hall. An excited Bombay crowd shouts its approval as the last fevered-pitch beat reverberates. The socially and artistically promising aspects of this music are still playing out. Western fans are digging the Indian influences more and more. This album was nominated for a Grammy in 2001. Eight years later, 40% of the Grammy nominees for best Contemporary Jazz Albums were Indo-jazz fusion efforts. That's a good sign for people open to the future of jazz, since this is where much of it is heading.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky