Zakir Hussain

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A small collection of tabla solos from various performances between 1994 and 2000, handpicked by Zakir Hussain as some of his favorites. The album attempts to make some display of the influence of Ustad Alla Rakha (Zakir's father); it is dedicated to him, and shows a decent amount of history in the compositions played throughout. All compositions are performed in tintal, the most basic rhythmic structure to build a framework from. The album starts out with a composition in tribute to Shri Appa Jalaonkar, a harmonium player whose birthday the concert in question was in honor of. In tandem with Sultan Khan, Hussain plays kaidas from five different gharanas in an excerpt from a concert in Ahmedabad in track two, and a continuation of the concert for Jalaonkar in the third track. Following is a combination of Punjab and Benares pieces from a Mumbai concert with a small solo piece from a San Francisco concert, and the album ends on continuations of the Ahmedabad and Mumbai concert solos. For sheer virtuosic tabla drumming, this is really the album to hear. The speed, rhythmic improvisation, and dexterity make it a worthwhile album alone. The added musicality Hussain brings to the performance only enhances it. While Hussain has been known to venture into less traditional territories from time to time, this album really shows him at his traditional best. Pick it up as a newcomer to Indian music, or as an aficionado alike.

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