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Natural Elements (With John McLaughlin)

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Album Review

For his next act, the decibel champion of electric jazz shocked the world by unplugging and returning to South Indian music before an excitable audience at South Hampton College. Yet the alert John McLaughlin follower will note that beyond the reliance upon South Indian instruments and scales, there are unbroken links to records like My Goal's Beyond and the high-speed electric music that McLaughlin was casting aside at the moment. McLaughlin called his new quintet Shakti, which means "creative intelligence and beauty and power" and the music here has all of that and something else, a ferocious streak inherited from the Mahavishnu days. McLaughlin ignites "Joy" by playing at a blazing speed, his cohorts Lakshminarayana Shankar (violin), Ramnad V. Raghavan and T.H. Vinayakram (mridangam), and Zakir Hussain (tabla) keeping up with the furious unison tempos with great dexterity and discipline, while a reworking of "Lotus Feet" forms a meditative interlude. Side two is taken up by a single, lengthy raga-like track in which McLaughlin combines his rapid-fire Western manner with note-bending techniques clearly emulating a sitar, and the Indians get plenty of dueling room. In its way, this fire-eating acoustic music is just as energizing as the most electrified Mahavishnu flights. ~ Richard S. Ginell, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Mesmerizing!!!

Hearing these master musicians improvise and play off of each other is awe inspiring.

I can't get enough of this album.

Biography

Formed: 1975

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s

As jazz-rock fusion pioneer John McLaughlin delved deeper into Eastern spirituality and mysticism, he developed a corresponding interest in the music of South India. Following the collapse of the second version of the Mahavishnu Orchestra in 1975, McLaughlin put together Shakti, an outfit dedicated to fusing high-energy jazz and Indian music. In addition to McLaughlin (who played acoustic guitar instead of his customary electric), Shakti featured violinist Lakshminarayana Shankar, tabla player Zakir...
Full bio
Natural Elements (With John McLaughlin), Shakti
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Pop, Music, Jazz, Fusion
  • Released: Jul 05, 1975

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Contemporaries