NEW ON CD
2 guitar cultures
blend well on CD
Debashish Bhattacharya & Bob Brozman
Steel slide guitarist Bob Brozman has traveled the world over in search of inspiring collaborations with other like-minded guitarists. His projects have also documented a couple of Hawaii-recorded releases, where his duets with slack-key guitarists Ledward Kaapana and Cyril Pahinui have been released on George Winston's Dancing Cat label.
The self-appointed ambassador of Hawaiian-and-blues-inspired acoustic steel guitar is sometimes hard-pressed to temper his occasional showboating (at least, the times I've seen him in performance here), but I think his best work is found on the albums he's done for this indie label, distributed by the World Music Network. You can't fault the oft-recorded Brozman for not lending his name to help record some of the finest guitarists internationally, and here he plays with Indian slide guitarist Bhattacharya on an appealing album.
While Brozman seems to lean toward more flash in his dazzling interplay with the Bhattacharya siblings (including brother Subhashish on tabla and percussion, and sister Sutapa on vocals) on his compositions "Tagore Street Blues" and "Bana Mali," the bulk of the album finds the ethnomusicologist taking a back seat to Debashish's more thoughtful arrangements and compositions.
You can hear the vocal-like quality of the steel slide on the gentle "Maa," and Bhattacharya's playing is especially fine on "Sujan Re," along with a nice vocal by his sister. Sutapa also lends a lively, multitracked vocal to "Digi Digi Dum Dum," inspired by the Bengalis that reside in the Bhattacharyas' home city of Kolkata (Calcutta).
Some of the better duets on "Mahima" include the Spanish-flavored "Sur-o-Lahari," a very bluesy "Jibaner Gan (Song of Life)" and "Konkani Memories."
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