Title - 'Namaste' (Concord Records)
Artist - Kenny G & Rahul Sharma
When the elements of melody and harmony are carefully balanced, the convergence of one world with another results in a beautiful sound.
Namaste is a collaborative album crafted by Rahul Sharma – a native of India’s Kashmir region and a third-generation master of the exotic, 100-string santoor – and saxophonist Kenny G, a multiple Grammy-winning titan on the contemporary jazz landscape for more than two decades.
The album begins with the title track, 'Namaste,' a slow-funk of a track that combined with G's playing, Sharma's smoothly subtle vocals just seem to melt into the cut. Next up is 'Brhama-Vishnu-Shiva,' another track where the combined melodies and harmonies of the two musicians are so carefully balanced. Then comes 'Dance Of The Elephant God' and 'Lotus Lovers,' which features heavily Sharma's 100-string santoor work. These are followed by both 'Transcendental Consciousness' and 'Valley of Flowers.'
On the partially-spoken 'Silsila,' a track that combines the exotic, sultry sounds of santoor just so incredibly with the saxophone of G, closing your eyes and you feel yourself being transported up and away. It's just so magical of a sound, as is the entire album, in truth. 'Om Shanti' borrows riffs, vocal chants and other elements from two earlier tracks ('Namaste' and 'Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva') and weaves them into such a "new" work of art you'd never know there was anything familiar about the track.
It should be known that mixer/producer Marc Burrows, also known as Marc JB of the UK dance music group Bimbo Jones, put his magic hands to work on this album under the guise of Kid Tricky. Burrows reconfigured the entire album with a shade more rhythmic presence, and isolated a couple songs – namely the title track and the otherworldly 'Transcendental Consciousness.' Hence, the album closes with both those aforementioned tracks: the jazzy 'Transcendental Consciousness (Walter A. Remix),' and a terrific trippy version of 'Namaste (Soul Seekerz Club Mix).'