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Crosscurrents: Zakir Hussain & Dave Holland Warp Time & Space

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Saturday November 04, 2017

From HuffPost

Crosscurrents: Zakir Hussain and Dave Holland warp time and space
By: Ralph A. Miriello

Louiz Banks, Shankar Mahadevan, Sanjay Divecha, Gino Banks, Chris Potter, Dave Holland & Zakir Hussain at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Artsion, Emory , Atlanta

What happens when you assemble one of the world’s preeminent masters of the ancient art of the tabla with an eclectic jazz master of the upright double bass ? You warp time and space.

If you were fortunate enough to have been at Emory’s Schwartz Center this past Thursday evening (November 2, 2017), then you would have experienced a fascinating amalgam of Indian/Jazz influenced World Music at its finest.

The program, aptly titled Crosscurrents, is a touring group that includes the phenomenal Indian tabla artist Zakir Hussain Quereshi, NEA jazz master bassist Dave Holland, world class saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist and “the Godfather of Indian jazz” Louiz Banks, guitarist Sanjay Divecha, drummer Gino Banks and one of India’s greatest voices and Bollywood superstar vocalist Shakar Mahadevan. With such an esteemed and accomplished group of musicians there was no doubt that the music would be both adventurous and moving.

The sixty-six-year-old Mr. Hussain is the son of the great tabla master Alla Rakha Quereshi, whose legendary performances with the sitarist Ravi Shakar, introduced India raga to a receptive western audience back in the late sixties. Rakha was also instrumental in bringing together the southern Indian Carnatic music tradition with the classical Indian Hindustani tradition of the northern India, and his son Zakir has carried on that practice in his own music taking it a step further. By working extensively with western musicians, Hussain has elevated the status of the more than four-thousand-year-old instrument, bringing its sounds to a worldwide audience. Hussain’s tabla work can be heard accompanying western jazz artists like Joe Henderson, Pharoah Sanders, John McLaughlin, George Brooks, crossover artists like Bela Fleck and Edgar Meyer and rock artists like George Harrison and the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart. His work on the break-through World music albums Planet Drum from 1992 and Global Drum Project from 2009 both garnered him Grammy awards. His handwork is so quick, so nuanced and so poly-rhythmic that when you see him play your eyes and ears seem to be deceiving you.

The seventy-one-year-old jazz multiple Grammy winning bassist Dave Holland originally hailed from England but has been living in the United States for over forty years. His playing has been sometimes classified as avant-garde/fusion because of his early work with Miles Davis, Sam Rivers, John Abercrombie and Anthony Braxton but the breadth of his musical interests goes far beyond any narrow categorization. He has studied flamenco, written and arranged for his big band and trios, and explored eastern musical traditions. He has superb intonation, a rapid pizzicato technique and can bow the cello or the double bass with refined proficiency.

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