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McLaughlin, Barot, & Mbappe Remember Mandolin Shrinivas

Alan Bryson By

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Uppalapu Shrinivas, best known as Mandolin Shrinivas, was born in 1969 in southeast India. At a very young age his affinity for the mandolin and his precocious musical talent was recognized by his father who placed him under the tutelage of an instructor in the carnatic school of Indian classical music. By the time he was nine years of age he was playing in public and quickly gaining fame in his native India.

In 1983 at the age of 14 he was booked to perform at JazzFest in Berlin, and scheduled to play a short set after Miles Davis. After he finished the audience demanded an encore and he played an additional hour to uproarious applause. The following day the entire performance was shown on national television in Germany. As you will hear in the interview that follows, this performance caused John McLaughlin to take steps to meet and eventually work with U. Shrinivas. Ranjit Barot also describes how trumpeter Don Cherry sat wide-eyed and transfixed in front of the stage as U. Shrinivas performed.

For over three decades he was an acknowledged maestro and star of Indian Classical music. In the West he was primarily known from his work with John McLaughlin in his Remember Shakti formation. This year Ranjit Barot and Etienne Mbappe, from John McLaughlin's 4th Dimension band, formed a power trio with U. Shrinivas. Their debut album Bombay Makossa (Abstract Logix,2014) album was released in September, which coincidently and tragically coincided with the sudden and unexpected death of U. Shrinivas.

The first and longest of the three interviews is with John Mclaughlin. He speaks at length of his work and friendship with U. Shrinivas, Indian classical music, his frustration with jazz purists, and even a bit about his time with Duane Allman. Ranjit Barot and Etienne share their memories of U. Shrinivas and talk about their latest recording that fuses African and Indian musical styles.
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