Baluji Shrivastav and Re-Orient
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Baluji Shrivastav and Re-Orient
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Sitar and tabla drums are key to most of the music here and thus it's a good thing that Baluji Shrivastav is a whiz on both. He's also skilled on a number of other Indian instruments, and what's more, he's got a knack for combining them with some freewheeling jazz and global textures. The results can sound fairly traditional or, as on this album's "Pharaoh's Dream" and "Taal Manjari- Flowering of Rhythm," get techno enough to show that Shrivastav and his mates in Re-Orient are progressive minded as well. As with much Indian-based music, there is a lot of rhythmic and melodic complexity here. What keeps it from becoming too stuffy and intimidating is the spark and ease with which additions such as Hossam Ramzy's Egyptian percussion and Guy Barker's trumpet are brought on board. Though at times the tracks twist and turn a little too much and overstay their welcome, pieces like the slinky finale "Spirit of Joy" make the trip worthwhile. When you're feeling burnt out on bhangra or Bollywood, give this other kind of Indian fusion a try. It's the work of master musicians and it is fun and engaging. - Tom Orr

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