This double package offers the sum total of the reasons for listening to Indian classical music: spiritual inspiration, musical virtuosity, and emotional honesty. Ustad Vilayat Khan, a sitarist who is world renowned, comes from an unbroken lineage of musicians dating back seven generations. His father and grandfather were among musical royalty in India, and Ustad has joined their ranks. This double-CD set features Khan solo on disc one playing a timeless raga, "Jog Kauns." It begins in a traditional style with long, slow drones that become shorter and more pronounced on the lower strings as the arpeggiated scalar material becomes gradually audible. Tempos begin to shift and change, and by the end of the 50-plus minutes of this raga, listeners have been transported into a world where time is no longer a barrier to anything. On the second disc, sitarist Hidayat Khan (Ustad's son) and the legendary tabla player Ustad Zakir Hussain join him. This set, also comprised of one raga, begins in a more mid-tempo range with "Gat in Madhyalay" and is capped with "Drut Teental." Here, the interplay between the two sitars is mesmerizing and the exchange is heated to the point of bliss. With Hussain moving through rhythmic counterpoint and remaining fluid, the entwining of the stringed instruments is dizzying, pointed, and moving to the point where the seam splits in the improvisation and what is left is pure music, floating in free space. Truly awesome and otherworldly.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek
Track Listing - Disc 2