Shakti / John McLaughlin

Saturday Night in Bombay: Remember Shakti

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John McLaughlin brought his revived Indo-jazz project Shakti to Bombay (Mumbai) in late 2000, and the result is this live disc, which features only four compositions but runs over an hour in length. (The title is a deliberate play on 1980's Friday Night in San Francisco.) McLaughlin's electric guitar and Zakir Hussain's tabla remain at the core of the group's sound. U. Shrinivas (on mandolin) and V. Selvaganesh (on kanjira, ghatam, and mridangam, all Indian percussion instruments) remain from the previous album, but there are also a number of Indian guest musicians, giving the music many added dimensions. The most remarkable guests are Debashish Bhattacharya on Hindustani slide guitar, Shankar Mahadevan on vocals, and Shiv Kumar Sharma on santur, an Indian hammered dulcimer. Sharma composed the second track, "Shringar"; nearly half an hour long, it consists almost entirely of a hypnotic dialogue between santur and guitar. Mahadevan's vocal performance on the opening "Luki" resounds with spiritual power, while Shrinivas's "Giriraj Sudha" gives a sunny, optimistic lift to the somewhat mournful set.

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