On the campus of U.C. Berkeley in May of 1991, the eminent Hindustani violinist Pandit V.G. Jog performed with renowned tabla player Zakir Hussain. In a breathtaking display of musical sensitivity and virtuosic command, the duet performed two ragas, "Rag Jog" and "Rag Rageshri." With this Moment Records release, the duet's Berkeley performance is presented. The CD begins with "Rag Jog," a raga that coincidentally bears the same name as the violinist performing it. "Rag Jog" is characterized by its pentatonic structure and use of both minor and major thirds. This alternation between thirds gives "Rag Jog" a bluesy sound. Pandit V.G. Jog begins to flesh out the raga's sound with a traditional Alap -- a freely improvised section in which the melodic structure of the composition is introduced and slowly developed. After ten minutes of thoughtful explorations in his Alap, Pandit V.G. Jog is joined by Zakir Hussain who lays down a medium-slow ten-beat rhythmic cycle called Jhaptal. Hussain then begins to precisely imitate Jog's melodic patterns with his Bayan, the lower pitched of the two drums that make up the tabla set. The two musicians subsequently move into medium and fast Tintals (16-beat rhythmic cycles) and conclude with a strapping series of coordinated melodic and rhythmic cadences known as Tihais. The second cut on the CD, "Rag Rageshri," is built upon Tintal and a light classical, eight-beat folk rhythm called Kaharwa. Pandit V.G. Jog's performance of "Rag Rageshri" is highlighted by a Ragmala -- a "garland of rags" in which several others rags are hinted at. In addition to quoting such ragas as "Malkauns," "Bhairavi," "Chandrakauns," and "Hindol," Pandit V.G. Jog breaks out with numerous folk melodies. All in all, Pandit V.G. Jog, Violin is an extraordinary CD. The Berkeley concert it captures is a stellar performance by two masters who spur one another on to new heights of musical discovery and sonic ascension.
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AllMusic Review by John Vallier
feat: Zakir Hussain
feat: Zakir Hussain