Trilok Gurtu

Crazy Saints

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Percussionist Trilok Gurtu comes from a long line of respected Indian classical musicians, but he's best known for his genre-blending fusions of world music and jazz. Crazy Saints is one of his most complex and challenging releases to date, enlisting the aid of jazz legends like guitarist Pat Metheny and Joe Zawinul to create a thoroughly modern sound that moves from razor sharp ensemble work to dizzying solos. The most effective songs are those that mine Gurtu's myriad world music influences, including "Manini" and "Blessing in Disguise," both of which are blessed with the haunting vocal ululations of Indian music legend Shobha Gurtu, the drummer's mother. The genteel balladry of "Ballad for 2 Musicians" and the excessive ambient noodling of "The Other Tune" may tax the patience of those with a lower tolerance for modern jazz wankery. But ultimately songs like the title track, which marries blistering beats in quirky time signatures with heavenly vocals and dazzling instrumental interplay, make the album a fine foray into jazz/world fusion.

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