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Monkey

Jai Uttal

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Album Review

On Monkey, young Jai Uttal continued to fuse Indian spiritual music and American pop with generally pleasing results. Once again, he demonstrates his mastery of acoustic Indian instruments like the harmonium and the dotar while using electronic synthesizers in a very human and soulful fashion. Though some of the material bears some resemblance to secular Indian pop of the '90s, which also unites synthesizers and traditional instruments, Uttal's overall approach is far from secular. While Uttal's own songs (both instrumental and with vocals) are dominant, "Govinda" is a moving version of the time-honored Hindu prayer. Jazz improviser Peter Apfelbaum is heard on both tenor sax and drums, and a fair amount of jazz influence asserts itself on "The Hooded Serpent" and the title song.

Biography

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jai Uttal has played Motown songs in cover bands and busked for change on the streets. Both of those experiences have stood him in good stead for his musical career, which finds his music straddling the divide between world and new age. Born in New York City in 1952, Uttal grew up in the music business — his father worked for a record label — and at the age of seven he began piano lessons. Those were followed by banjo, guitar, and harmonica as Uttal began to discover American roots music,...
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Monkey, Jai Uttal
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