Countless fans have been introduced to Krishna Das through yoga classes, where his soothing rhythmic chants, preformed in a deep, rich timbre, complement instruction on the spiritual element of the exercise. Only those students inclined toward extra credit, though, are likely to know that the former Jeffrey "K.D." Kagel, renamed Krishna Das after years of studying alongside his guru, Mahara ji, in India, is a one-time rock singer from Long Island, N.Y.
All One, Krishna's ninth CD, delivers inward-looking listeners that much closer to recognizing the chant master's unlikely background on their own, though. Essentially an hour-long melodic recitation of the name Hare Krishna set to accompaniment that ranges from Indian to classical to rock in style, the disc makes use of several rock & roll heavy hitters. Co-produced with Walter Becker (Steely Dan), Jay Messina (Aerosmith), and David Nichtern (who wrote "Midnight at the Oasis"), All One finds Becker on bass, Nichtern on guitar, and Def Leppard's Rick Allen on drums. Which accounts for why, even on more sedate tracks, a certain rock energy seeps through. That Krishna Das manages that influence without allowing the disc to become a mongrelized slab of meditation-lite -- it's quite listenable in a head-clearing sort of way -- is a testament, maybe, to the concept that his burnished, entrancing voice comes from a place purer than most.