When somebody as prodigious as John McLaughlin goes to India, you can expect a musical celebration to happen. That too when I first heard that he was going to spend 6 months in India, I sure thought this will result in a musical miracle. Rightly so.
There are 3 albums that have been churned out of his India visit — Floating Point, Samjanitha and Miles from India.
In my opinion, John’s musical quest is diversifying within the various hues of Indian music. Different players, different levels of collaboration, new levels of Indianism in his music.
Is it just me or is this truly the first time John is collaborating with these players? Louis Banks, Niladri Kumar, Shashank, Naveen Kumar, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Ravi Chari, Brij Narain, Dilshad Khan, Sridhar Parthasarathy, Kala Ramnath, Sikkil Gurucharan, Rakesh Chaurasia.
There are a few more new names appearing with John for the first time on a commercial CD, but I am sure they have collaborated before.
Well, be as they may, I wouldn’t be what I am if I dint get myself a copy of each of these. And I did. I have ordered all 3 and I have got 2 of them in hand.
May be its time for a detailed review.
Miles from India
This is the first announced/released CD, so I had no reason to not buy it. If you are expecting Shakti like music in this album, don’t. This is an amalgamation of Indian music with some of the original music of Miles Davis, including some participants of the original music. I have been trying to put my finger on which song I liked best, but every single song is amazing.
A very strong percussion team represented by Ranjit Barot, Sivamani, Gino Banks, Selvaganesh, Vinayakram, Lenny White, Sridhar Parthasarathy, Jimmy Cobb, Ndugu Chancler and Vince Wilburn Jr. It was a surprise Zakir did not participate in this album.
If this album is any hint, Sikkil Gurucharan has made his debut into non-traditional music and is likely to become another Shankar Mahadevan. Of course, I don’t count Umamahesh is this league at all.
This album is a very good experiment and a must try for every Jazz lover curious about Indian music (and the other way round as well)
I don’t know why some pieces in this album remind me of techniques Ilayaraja uses in his background scores for movies.
This is not a Shakti album or a John McLaughlin album. This is purely a U Shrinivas album. Helped by several artists including Dominique De Piazza (McLaughlin Trio fame), Zakir, Selvaganesh, Vinayakram, Debashish Bhattacharya, U Rajesh, George Brooks.
I seriously think the Indian Jazz/Fusion stage is unduly occupied by Selvaganesh and Vinayakram. I think Shrinivas must have done this album without these two. His level of experimentation on this album without these two would have been very different. Or may be use Selvaganesh just for Konnakol. By the way, every song does not have to have Konnakol (it is a fast cliché)
You might have heard to music from an album called Sahavaadhan. Shrinivas and Sultan Khan doing a Jugalbandhi on Dharmavathi. I think a similar Jugalbandhi between Shrinivas and Debashish Bhattacharya is pending in a long time.
Ok…so as it turns out, Samjanitha is not an album with all super hits. Some tracks are cliché, some tracks could have been done without, some tracks could have been done better. But hey, any album is a combination of all these things.
I am sure Shrinivas has soft corner towards certain Ragas. I am positive that Bindumalini is one of them. Now I am thinking Kadanakuthookalam is also one of them. That is the first track on the album. And one on Sindhu Bhairavi, Desh, Hamsadhwani etc…
The track named Deep End is the best, while every track has some speciality to itself.
Neither of these albums made me regret my buying them. I am looking forward to Floating Point and the “Making of Floating Point” video DVD.
You can listen to 60-second samples (industry standard is 30 secs) for all these 3 albums at abstractlogix
Video trailer of the Meeting of the Minds DVD is available at