Sadaayen/Evocation

COMPOSERS: Amjad Ali Khan
LABELS: Navras
WORKS: Sadaayen/Evocation
PERFORMER: Amjad Ali Khan (sarod), TH Subhashchandran (ghatam), Vijay Ghate (tabla)
CATALOGUE NO: NRCD 0159

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One other who knows how to spin out an alap is the sarod player AMJAD ALI KHAN, now in his fifties. His new release begins with a relatively short but cogent example, feeling as though it has all the time in the world. The rest is a virtuoso treat, with enough spark, wit and – a couple of gruesome musical puns apart – sheer fun for a dozen average recitals.

Shaping quick music into a long form can also seem like a lost art, but this player is at the height of his inventive powers and currently unequalled, as the main performance proves. As for the supporting cast, the presence along with the tabla of a South Indian clay pot makes for stimulating exchanges.

Fans of percussion dialogues should grab this CD, as the thrills come thick and fast, complete with a long question-and-answer session in which the two players attempt together to match the sarod’s phrases, and a surprise diminuendo ending at flat-out speed.

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In the booklet the timings don’t match up with the track lengths, particularly frustrating when the notes go to some trouble to say what happens when. R