Certainly one of the most well-known tabla players in the world (along with his father, Ustad Alla Rakha), Zakir Hussain has done much to bring the percussive power of Indian classical music to Western ears; through his work with Mickey Hart and John McLaughlin, he has amply demonstrated how effective the instrument can be as accompaniment. On this disc, however, he pushes the tabla as a solo endeavor and the results are quite stunning. Selected by Hussain as some of his most noteworthy solo performances (recorded live between 1997 and 2000), each of the six pieces finds him improvising on both basic and advanced compositional roots. Though accompanied on a couple of pieces by sarangi and harmonium, the focus is (obviously) on the unlimited rhythmic expanses that the tabla opens up. Largely abandoning the more forceful aspects that emerge when he's accompanying Western players, "Selects" is all about the magical subtleties inherent in the complexities of the instrument. Even when he's riffing on tabla basics (like on the piece recorded in Ahmedabad in 1999), Hussain's playing is truly amazing.
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