On Monkey, young Jai Uttal continued to fuse Indian spiritual music and American pop with generally pleasing results. Once again, he demonstrates his mastery of acoustic Indian instruments like the harmonium and the dotar while using electronic synthesizers in a very human and soulful fashion. Though some of the material bears some resemblance to secular Indian pop of the '90s, which also unites synthesizers and traditional instruments, Uttal's overall approach is far from secular. While Uttal's own songs (both instrumental and with vocals) are dominant, "Govinda" is a moving version of the time-honored Hindu prayer. Jazz improviser Peter Apfelbaum is heard on both tenor sax and drums, and a fair amount of jazz influence asserts itself on "The Hooded Serpent" and the title song.
by Alex Henderson