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Ravi Shankar
Bridges
Private Music/BMG

cd cover At 81 years of age, Ravi Shankar is showing a playful staying power reminiscent of Picasso. In the 1930s(!), Shankar was already a renowned musician, familiar with New York's Carnegie Hall and Paris's Theatre du Champs-Elysees. Ravi Shankar is an icon. An extraordinary musician, Shankar opened the door to world music for many of us. A Shankar raga is likely the first heard by a generation of Americans. Bridges, however, is a disappointment. The 7-minute 32-second "Ragas in Minor Scale" is boring. The symphonic sounds remind me of rock bands that have conned their record companies into paying an orchestra to pander to ideas far removed from the music that got 'em to the party (a trend that runs from Jim Morrison to Oasis).

It seems like there are some folks who's reputation is so great one is tempted to refrain from criticism: Ravi Shankar, George Harrison (he plays on Bridges), and perhaps Don Corleone. Save your money. "Tarana," "Tana Mana," or "Sadhanipa" - take your pick - these are less than stellar compositions. Despite its claim to be "the best of...," Shankar has better work in his catalog and is a far better musician than Bridges suggests. Check out Shankar's recent autobiography "Raga Mala" or, if you've yet to hear her, his daughter Anoushka on her self-titled debut album. On both counts you'll get your money's worth. Take a pass on Bridges. - Richard Dorsett


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