With so much Ravi Shankar music on record, it's difficult to put a representative sampling of his recordings onto a two-disc compilation, and difficult to determine exactly what the theme of this particular collection is. The two discs are divided into a CD titled "The Radical" and "The Classicist," though it's fair to say that many listeners who are not deeply schooled in Indian music will not find the approaches he uses on the two parts radically different. The Man and His Music does, however, offer good performances spanning the early '60s to the early '90s. It's a good value as well, adding up to about two hours and 20 minutes of music, with most of the eight tracks being quite lengthy pieces; four, in fact, last more than 20 minutes, and a fifth clocks in just under the 20-minute mark. All three of the selections on the "Classicist" disc are ragas, the accompaniment to Shankar's sitar varying to include tanpura and sarod at times, though tabla is used on all of them. Though these might be more traditional than the tracks on disc one, they're not less energetic and intense, building up to a high-speed climax in the manner of standard full-length sitar recitals. The five songs on the "Radical" disc include pieces drawing from works made famous in films, with "Farewell My Friend" quoting from a melody used in Shankar's score to Satyajit Ray's 1955 film Pather Panchali; "Raga Khamaj" used as the theme for the 1981 movie Gandhi; and "Kaisey Din Beetey," with vocals by Lata Mangeshkar, from the 1961 film Anuradha. "Raga Tilak Shyam" and "Ghanashyam -- Dance Drama," the two remaining tracks, use ensembles, the former featuring five sitarists (including Shankar), the latter flute, guitar, sarod, sanargi, tabla, keyboards, shenai, and vocals (in addition to sitar). Thus, The Man and His Music manages to illustrate Shankar's work in a variety of contexts within its allotted space, with liner notes providing details for each track, as well as basic overviews of his career and the form of Indian music he performs.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Track Listing - Disc 1
feat: Lata Mangeshkar
Track Listing - Disc 2