Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan – Dark Clouds – Dedication Records

by | Nov 17, 2006 | SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews | 0 comments

Stu Goldberg & Cassius Khan – Dark Clouds – Dedication Records  Multichannel SACD DR-2181, 54:46 ****:

(Stu Goldberg, piano & percussion/ Cassius Khan, tabla & vocals/ Jennifer Lauren Goldberg, vocals)

Stu Goldberg was keyboardist with the Mahavishnu Orchestra and has played with Al Di Meola, Wayne Shorter, Freddie Hubbard and others.  He currently lives in Penticton, B.C. and a chance informal musical exchange with master of East Indian classical singing and tabla playing Cassius Khan expanded into this program which mixes East and West.  Cassius is unique in being able to perform on the highly skilled tablas while simultaneously singing in the Ghazal Gayaki style.

Ragamala, the first and longest of the four tracks, is a duo between piano and tabla, as the two musicians did on their first meeting.  Goldberg’s improvisations travel thru a multicultural world mixing elements of Indian music, jazz, blues, even New Orleans piano-professor style (Katrina had just occurred and Goldberg was thinking of fellow musicians there). The tabla rhythms bounce back and forth across the frontal sound stage with dizzying speed.  Rain, the second track, brings in Goldberg’s wife Jennifer, accompanied by piano and percussion, while the third track is a percussion duo.  The title and final track, Dark Clouds, mixes overdubbed vocals by both Cassius and Jennifer with Goldberg’s piano and a tabla tour de force, which concludes with the sound effect of a rainstorm.

Both Goldberg and Khan are virtuoso performers and have come up with some exciting and satisfying musical explorations.  I am reminded of the blending of jazz and Indian music on many of the Water Lily Acoustics discs.  And the emphasis on high quality hi-res surround sound is also shared with that label.

– John Henry

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