The University of Michigan’s Musical Society brings in some outstanding musical acts to Ann Arbor. I just a great show on November 1st that had Zakir Hussain, Dave Holland, the Bollywood vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, and a few other good jazz musicians. I always love watching Zakir play and I had never seen Dave Holland or Shankar live before, so this was a nice treat and I highly recommend this tour if you are a lover of jazz or Indian music. The next act they are bringing that I will see is John Mclaughlin’s USA Farewell tour. He is touring with his band doing a tour of Mahavishnu Orchestra’s music as his final US tour and I am really looking forward to it. The first time I saw either of these two great musicians play was when Remember Shakti was touring the West Coast and played at the Arlene Schnitzer Hall. It was my first time seeing a master musician play the tablas and my first time seeing the unique blend of jazz and Indian music. The music they played on that tour was the music from their live The Believer album which was released in 2000.
The band was called Remember Shakti based on Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin’s acoustic band from the ‘70’s called Shakti. This time around John McLaughlin was playing electric guitar to go with Zakir Hussain’s tablas. They were joined by U. Shrinivas on electric mandolin and Vikku Selvaganesh on the ghatam, which is a clay pot drum. The music is upbeat and exciting but at the same time it is relaxing and spiritual. This is one of my favorite Indian/Jazz albums and John McLaughlin/Zakir Hussain is definitely my favorite Indian/Jazz duo. I highly recommend this album and this band to anyone that is interested in East/West crossovers. The best way to hear this music is live to truly appreciate their musicianship but the music on The Believer does a fair job of capturing their talent. The talent of these musicians and their ability to play music that is enjoyable to Jazz or Indian music fans is truly amazing. Here is decent video of them playing “Ma No Pa” from the same tour that does a good job of showing their style:
Another good album to checkout from this band is Saturday Night in Bombay which has the same four musicians but also a host of guest musicians. I wish I could see these two great musicians play together again but I don’t think that will happen. At least I will have the memories of seeing them play once in Portland.
Zakir Hussain – Distant Kin: The Merging of Celtic and Indian Music
John McLaughlin – Jazz Fusion Legends Mahavishnu Orchestra New Unreleased Music