Moment Records is the label of Indian master percussionist, Zakir Hussain, featuring both traditional and crossover "East-meets-West" material. Most records on the Moment label feature Hussain either as accompaniment, or as the featured artist, and all are quite fine. These are records which demand close, attentive listening, and reward it well. Hussain is both a blindingly fast and achingly subtle musician, equally able to give sensitive accompaniment to his fellow musicians, or to blow the roof off the auditorium. The Moment label has made available some of the best contemporary Indian classical music, with musical quality and fidelity which are both first rate.
Shakti "Best Of" (Moment, 1994)
In the 1960s, American listeners were introduced to Indian classical music through the Beatles and Ravi Shankar. One step further down the line was the jazz crossover of the Indian trio known as Shakti, who accompanied fusion guitar whiz John McLaughlin on several stunning albums in the early 1970s. This disc collects some of their best -- and best-known --performances. In a sense, many of these tracks are a bit showy -- McLaughlin's flashy guitar work races keep up with and tops Zakir Hussain's mind-bogglingly fast tablas, and the lyrical (yet equally pyrotechnic) violin of Shankar. It's a tour de force which, if listened to attentively, will floor you. Yet, it's not as far away from classical Indian traditionalism as you might imagine -- many classical compositions wind up in the same sort of virtuoso improvisational drag racing, and these guys also rarely lose the melody or the moment. Well worth checking out.
Pandit V.G. Jog "Violin" (Moment, 1991)
Sublime classical performance featuring Hussain on percussion and violin master Pandit Vishnu Govind Jog in a stunning recital, recorded live in 1991. The second track, "Rag Rageshri", is a gorgeous violin exploration which primarily features the melodic alap movement; the first track is a much longer full piece, which gradually whirls into a frenzied riff-swapping between the tablas and violin. Despite the breakneck speed, the rich melody is never lost. HIGHLY recommended.
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