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Shakti With John McLaughlin - Shakti with John McLaughlin CD (album) cover


Shakti With John McLaughlin


Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

3.49 | 68 ratings

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4 stars Put a jazz guitar full of fast notes and legatos between tablas and a frenetic violin. This is first of all a jazz quintet. The largerly improvised parts on this live are typical of jazz while the sounds are typical of India.

This live album consists of three tracks only. "Joy" takes 18 minutes which contain all the above. I have to say that McLaughlin is not the only sjkilled player. Zakir Hussain at the tablas is a great percussioninst that I have suggested for inclusion time ago, and Shankar at the violin is as fast as McLaughlin. The two additional percussioninsts complete the totally acoustic, not just unplugged, quintet.

"Lotus Feet" doesn't have the obsessive percussions of the first track. The bass note below the guitar and the violin is probably a string instrument, but I'm not so expert of Indian music to know which one. This is a "western" track, with just few tablas at the end when it unfortunately fades out. A very bad thing for a live album.

The third track of this album, with its impossible title has a length of "Neal Morse's proportions". 30 miutes which start similar to Lotus Feet, with the bass note in the background and acoustic guitar virtuosisms. Remove the bass note and it won't be much different from "Friday Night in SF". About 4 minutes of guitar and it's time for the violin. Since now the tablas are present throughout the track. Other four minutes and it's guitar time again. Some stops in the percussions and guitar are here to demonstrate that it's not all improvised. How many fingers does McLaughlin have? At 1/3 of the track the full ensemble is playing. Guitar and violin alternate a part each separated by interludes of unison played notes. This can't be improvised. The central part of this suite is the most complex and all the musicians have room to show what they are able to do. The guitar and violin duo exactly in the middle of the track is the most western part even with tablas, ghatam and mridangam (indian percussions) behind. Do you want to know what an acoustic guitar can do? Wait for minute17. After this it's time for Zakir Hussain to place a solo. This is when the crowd participates with claps. An explosion of applauses after 5 minutes but the solo continues. Now all the three percussionists are at work. After this long solo there are two minutes left for guitar and violin to close the track as an ensemble.

Even if this can be not everybody's genre, every progger that's enough open-minded can really like this album, so 4 stars.

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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