Pandit Pran Nath was one of the leading exponents of the Kirana style of northern Indian singing, his influence extending far into the Western genres of jazz, contemporary classical and rock. Musicians from Don Cherry and Lee Konitz to La Monte Young and Terry Riley to David Byrne and Brian Eno studied with Pran Nath or paid him great respect. This recording contains two lengthy ragas, "Raga Todi" and "Raga Darbari," one for morning and one for evening. Pran Nath's exquisite control between microscopically fine degrees of pitch can be easily heard in the former. The first two thirds of the piece is performed slowly and delicately, each sinuous line being given careful weight and consideration. When, in the final few minutes, the pace quickens there is a startling sense of unfolding possibilities, almost an embarrassment of riches after the earlier rigor. The second raga follows a similar structure but the tonal center is entirely different; instead of the plaintive almost keening quality of the morning raga, we hear a calmer, more accepting feeling, as though the singer has graciously acceded to what has occurred that day. This time when the tempo picks up it's as if the singer has gotten a second wind late in the day and is suddenly full of joyous energy. The effect of Pran Nath's quivering lines and immensely complicated vocal arabesques is liberating enough. When he goes head to head with the tabla player for some intricate sparring, ones jaw tends to drop. Ragas of Morning and Night is a wonderful recording and would serve as a fine introduction both to this musician and to this particular style of singing as well. Additionally, excellent and detailed liners notes by La Monte Young are included.
AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick