When experimental US composer, Conlon Nancarrow wrote his studies for the self-playing player piano or pianola, he deliberately composed beyond the capabilities of human performance. With electronic or digital drums or digital percussion, technology and programming created new possibilities and turned many into slaves to the algorithm. With what tabla maestro Zakir Hussain achieves, all it takes is two hands, tuned percussion and a lifetime of ferocious musical wit and invention. He brings new dimensions of eloquence and muscularity to talking in rhythm.
When compiling this selection of soliloquies, colloquies and magic, Ken Hunt chose performances revealing varying sides of Zakir Hussain’s music, personality and virtuosity. They show this foremost master of Indian rhythmicality revitalising and renewing the art of rhythm accompaniment in the roles of soloist, duettist and ensemble player. Bookending the anthology, Tabla Taal – Char Taal ki Sawari and Punjabi Dhamar – Teental (Drut) feature bols rhythm syllable recitation, in which reciting the composition is followed by duplicating its notes on tabla.
Deliberately Zakir Hussain is shown in good, glad and grand company. On raga Kirwani he is in tandem with Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, the musician who raised the santoor – a modified Kashmiri folk instrument – to the global concert stage. On raga Gara he accompanies the outstanding sitar maestro Ustad Vilayat Khan. On Tabla Taal – Ek Taal he and his father, Alla Rakha reveal themselves as fire-breathing dragons as they inexorably transport listeners to the piece’s delicious finale and resolution. By contrast, inverting the usual percussion and melody instrument role, on Punjabi Dhamar – Teental (Drut) the sarangi visionary Ustad Sultan Khan takes the supportive lehara or lehra role to Zakir Hussain’s exceptional front-man role. That last performance brings this party back to its roots and....... więcej