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Trilok Gurtu: Kathak

Wizardly percussionist Trilok Gurtu knows more than most musicians about the true meaning of fusion. It’s not a dirty word or an empty style posture for Gurtu, but a way of being, for a musician trained in classical tradition but happily flung into a wide world of jazz, rock, and sundry western influences. Kathak (Mintaka 1073; 46:37), from Trilok Gurtu and his group, The Glimpse, is all over the map, in a kindly, mostly musical way. Gurtu has no compunctions about crossing over idiomatic borders.

Who else could bring together such a varied guest list to his project? The opening tune, “Ganapati,” features vocalist Neneh Cherry, whose late father, Don, led the first western band Gurtu played with in the late ’70s. On the following track, “You, Remember This,” Gurtu’s own renowned vocalist mother, Shobha Gurtu, flexes her matured vocal gift. Later, in the middle of “Seven Brings Return,” we hear hubristic distorto electric guitar wailing, courtesy of Steve “Toto” Lukather. The leader himself refrains from much pecussionistic showcasing, but he’s there at all the right times, coloring the rhythms and guiding the eclectic crew on a path with no particular name.

Originally Published