MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Shakti With John McLaughlin - A Handful Of Beauty CD (album) cover

A HANDFUL OF BEAUTY

Shakti With John McLaughlin

 

Indo-Prog/Raga Rock

3.65 | 47 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

siLLy puPPy
4 stars This is really the first album I ever heard of any type of jazz fusion and I loved this music from the very first listen. After the dissolution of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, John McLaughlin became obsessed with playing Indian classical music after already having studied and learning how to play the classical Indian stringed instrument called the veena. This ultimately led him to the project SHAKTI where he found three extremely talented Indian musicians to accompany him. Zakir Hussain handled percussion and tabla duties. Lakshminarayana Shankar totally abused the violin and on this release Vikku Vinayakram handled additional percussion duties as well. John had a custom-made steel-string acoustic guitar made especially for the sounds he wished to achieve in this type of fusion band. The guitar featured two tiers of strings over the sound hole like those of a sitar or a veena which created a sound that corresponded better to the Indian instruments.

The band released a live debut album and then released two studio albums in 1977 with A HANDFUL OF BEAUTY being the very first. This album begins with the a firestorm konnakol (the art of performing percussion syllables vocally in South India) that begins "La Danse Du Bonheur" which immediately reminds of the energetic ferocity of the Mahavishnu Orchestra and the perfect opener for a band whose name is Sanskrit for "energy." The intensity that the musicians of the band deliver is absolutely incredible to say the least. The beauty of this band is that not only is this an East meets West affair but it is also a Northern India meets Southern India one as well. These musicians seamlessly marry Western jazz with the Hindustani classical styles of Northern India and the Carnatic classical styles of Southern India.

The album drifts from energetic passages beginning with the opening track to more mellow and pastoral moments as heard on "Lady K" and "Isis." The interplay between instruments is always perfect and the harmonies, melodies and rhythms take you on a wild ride through various time signatures and more haunting drawn out percussionless sections. At times some of the passages do outstay their welcome but overall the tracks are well paced.

At the time this was widely acclaimed for exposing western jazz lovers to the ragas and musical textures that traditional Indian music had to offer and guarantees energetic and well-played performances. If you have never been exposed to much Indian music before this then you may be put off for this can be intense but also sensually beautiful at the same time. If you have had the chance to fall in love with classical Indian artists such as Ravi Shankar and love the idea of a world fusion sound with incredibly fast and virtuosic performances than this will truly satisfy all those itches. I for one am still lovin' this one after many years of listening to it and am still completely awed by both the beauty of the emotional depth and the technical prowess of each talented individual involved.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |

MEMBERS LOGIN ZONE

As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this SHAKTI WITH JOHN MCLAUGHLIN review

Social review comments () BETA







Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives