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Trilok Gurtu: Spellbound

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In a 35-year career that's stretched from Oregon and saxophonists Jan Garbarek and Charlie Mariano, to violinist Shankar and guitarists John McLaughlin and Nguyên Lê, Trilok Gurtu has established a very specific talent. Few kit drummers are as adept as Gurtu on tabla and the Indian konnakol vocal percussion tradition; conversely, few tablaists/konnakol experts are as capable as Gurtu on kit. Gurtu's entire career has been predicated on cross-genre boundary busting that's resulted in a small but distinctive discography, from the instrumental (but still Indo-centric) jazz of Crazy Saints (CMP, 1993), with guest guitarist Pat Metheny and keyboardist Joe Zawinul, ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Trilok Gurtu: Where East Meets West

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Percussionist Trilok Gurtu belongs to that elevated group of musicians who, along their careers, have not only acquired a uniqueness of sound, but have also contributed to the widening of the notion of contemporary music. By crossing genre boundaries, and by mingling styles and ethnic influences, Gurtu has created and performed within the generous sound space he today defines as world music. Throughout his career, Gurtu has played with some of the most remarkable jazz musicians in the world, enhancing their music with his stunning capacity of emulation and response. Between 1974 and 2011 he has appeared on more than ...

INTERVIEWS

Trilok Gurtu: Stirring the Big Old Pot

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There is a popular theory of mathematical probability, that if you put a typewriter in front of a monkey, it will, through a process of trial and error, eventually produce a play of William Shakespeare. Swayed by the same sweeping logic, others believe that if you put a trap kit and assorted percussive instruments in front of Trilok Gurtu, then he will, in time, play every genre of music known to humankind. Before leaving his native India in the mid-'70s Gurtu had developed a substantial vocabulary of Indian rhythms through his Bollywood studio work, and these grooves have provided the ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trilok Gurtu with Simon Phillips & the NDR Big Band: 21 Spices

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There's a certain logic underlying the union of percussionist/composer Trilok Gurtu and the NDR Big-band, as both have proved themselves open to musical exploration over the years. Gurtu, in particular, has consistently blurred the boundaries of music, and it is characteristic of his way of thinking to employ Simon Phillips--ostensibly a rock drummer-- with a jazz big band, to bring a different groove to the mix. Wolf Kerscheck's stirring arrangements of ten Gurtu compositions are both sympathetic to Gurtu's melting-pot philosophy, and imaginative in their reach, and to this end the arranger deserves equal plaudits for what is a pulsating ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

The Espoo Big Band Featuring Trilok Gurtu: Neandertal Grooves

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The Espoo Big Band, a bellwether of the Finnish jazz scene for more than three decades, is known for its adventurous nature, and Neandertal Grooves, which showcases the music of guitarist/composer Jarmo Saari and the talents of master percussionist Trilok Gurtu, does nothing to undermine that enterprising spirit.

As “neandertal” (Neanderthal) has become rather a synonym for “primitive” or even “uncivilized,” one might expect the same from Saari and the EBB, but that’s hardly the case, even though some of the music is rough and relatively unrestrained, blending elements of jazz, rock and fusion into a percolating stew ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Trilok Gurtu: The Beat of Love

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The many musics of India and Africa are complex, vibrant and life-affirming. The two regions’ musical styles are somewhat intertwined due to centuries of trade and travel, and Trilok Gurtu has created a magnificent document of that cultural crossover. Wally Badarou, the king of world dance beats, was the ideal choice to produce this project, uniting some hot stars from each area for this collection. Roop Kumar, Nandini Sirkar and other Indian virtuosos blend exceptionally well with the African passions of Angelique Kidjo, Salif Keita, Sabine Kabongo and Wasis Diop.

The instantly infectious groove of “Maya” is a fabulous start. ...



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