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Handful of Beauty
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  • Shakti headed for the safer confines of a London recording studio on its second album, minus R. Raghavan and minus some of the volatile energy that they generated on their debut record. They were, however, a more integrated, more subtle ensemble now, exploring quieter, more lyrical corners of their East-West fusion, with L. Shankar's spectacular violin and Zakir Hussain's tabla taking the solo foreground as much as, if not more than, McLaughlin's acoustic guitar. With the exception of an arrangement of a traditional South Indian piece "Kriti," McLaughlin and Shankar contribute all of the compositions, which lean even more heavily toward South Indian music with reminders of McLaughlin's Western roots. As a whole, this is less accessible to McLaughlin's jazz-rock flock than the first Shakti album, but still fascinating for contemporary listeners with a yen for world music, as well as curious stragglers from the classical Indian world dominated by Ravi Shankar (another indefatigable champion of East-West fusions). ~ Richard S. Ginell
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