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Music without Boundaries
Larry Coryell (guitar) Hari Prasad Chaurasia (flute) George Brooks (saxophone) T.H. 'Vikku' Vinayakam (ghatam) Swapan Chaudhuri (tabla) John Wubbenhorst (keyboard)
Navras Records NRCD 6001

This ear-opening CD was released at a Barbican Centre concert on 14 July 2000, reviewed by S&H. Navras Records has played an important part in making the Indian classical music idiom in all its wealth and complexity available for concentrated home listening. Music Without Boundaries addresses itself to an urban jet-setting age in which for very many people cultural interchanges are the norm on a daily basis.

The Music Without Boundaries CD newly available came from a live recording of a concert in San Francisco in 1998, and features many of the players heard at The Barbican. It captures the excitement generated by an exhilarating and virtuosic cross-over concert in West-Coast USA. The rapt attention of the audience communicates itself and their very audible presence gives a vitality to the musical interchanges. You can feel part of the captivated listeners, laughing, coughing and clapping. What is lost of the immediacy of a shared and encompassing experience is gained by exploiting the possibilities of the recording to focus on the textures of particular instruments. The physicality of the sounds is highlighted (and can be savoured again) whereas, when one is swept along in the multi-layered onward rush of a live concert performance, a lot of detail can be lost.

The musical textures which emerge from the ghatam (a clay pot) under T.H. 'Vikku' Vinayakam's virtuosic hands are breathtaking, and the meditative and flowing rivulets of notes which George Brooks coaxes from the saxophone are pure delight. Larry Coryell's guitar seems at times beguiled by the East, with exquisite, softly contoured lines. Hariprasad Chaurasia's flute playing must surely melt away any reservations; he is one of the undisputed greats of Indian classical music, and he proves himself comfortable too in the fusion situation. His rhetorical exchanges with the tabla, played by Swapan Chaudhuri with spellbinding virtuosity, opened up a musical conversation of boundless possibilities.

This CD is truly a record of music making without boundaries at its most sophisticated, with sounds and rhythms tumbling out in such profusion as to make it almost impossible at times to keep pace. Its richness warrants replaying many times

Alexa Woolf<


Alexa Woolf<

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