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Ustad Sultan Khan & Friends

Times Music, Rs.65 (cassette)This album features the popular Yaad Piya Ki Aayi sung by Ustad Sultan Khan, Sadhana Sargam and Suhel Khan. The ustad's deep husky voice combines well with Sadhana's silky one in the classical contours of the song, and Suhel's acts as a foil. There are two versions of Yaad Piya Ki Aayi. The second version is a lounge mix, with keyboard harmonies. While these provide a contrast to the Hindustani classical base of the song, they do not lessen the impact of the music as often happens in remix attempts. Chand Taare, sung by Zubin Garg and Suhel Khan is a lilting qawwali-like number. Another rousing composition is Jaane Kyon, sung by Bhupinder Singh, Mitali Singh and Suhel. While some of the songs have a strong classical bent, others are folksy, like the appealing Maahi sung by Sadhana Sargam, Shreya Ghoshal and Suhel. However, the `remix' type English lyrics that suddenly pop up spoil the mood rather than enhance it. Dhani Chunariya is another catchy folk tune. Slightly different in musical mood is Pyar Hai. Probably because this one has music by sitar exponent Ustad Rais Khan, whereas all the others are composed by Suhel Khan. Musical arrangement for the album is by Suhel Khan, Vinod Bhatt and George, while rhythms are arranged by Shahdab Hussain.On the whole a very pleasant album. Sultan Khan's soothing sarangi and the sitar bits by Ustad Rais Khan, Suhel Khan and Farhan Khan are appealing. Along with the rhythms, they enliven the songs without drowning them out.John Coltrane: Afro blue impressionsZYX Music/Virgin Records; Rs.700 (2-CD set)The two CDs in this package together make up some 95 minutes of music picked from a concert tour of Europe in 1963 by the John Coltrane quartet. Coltrane himself on tenor and soprano saxophones, McCoy Tyner on piano, Jimmy Garrison on bass and Elvin Jones on drums had been working together for a few years by this time. The music they collectively served up was attaining heights of emotional intensity that had not yet entered the realm of esoteric experimentation that made the rest of Coltrane's career - he died in 1967 - quite controversial and incidentally led to changes in the make-up of the quartet. Here, Tyner, Garrison and Jones are astonishingly well attuned to their leader in what is a very personal statement of his idea of jazz, as notes pour out of his horn in torrents. Whether it is a slow ballad such as Lonnie's Lament and Naima or the fast-paced Impressions and Chasin' the Trane, Coltrane is never doing less than going flat out to give the music all he's got.Six tracks were composed by Coltrane and the rest, favourites of his from the pop and jazz canon, bear the personal stamp of his sound in the renditions here. The music has a hypnotic quality, particularly the tracks on which he uses the soprano sax as only he could, the brisk-paced My Favourite Things and Afro-Blue and the second half of the slow but haunting Spiritual.Tyner matches his leader admirably, the two sharing most of the solos. Garrison is soft in the background, while Jones's drumming is vigorous, topping off the crescendo at the finale of many of the tracks with a crash of cymbals. The pick of the album is the 21-minute long My Favourite Things at the end of the first disc, with its three solos on soprano sax and one on piano, punctuated by brief returns to the theme, riveting the listener throughout.




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