Shakti’s new album, “This Moment” Review by Thom Jurek for

Forty-six years after their last studio album, pioneering Indo-jazz fusion ensemble Shakti returns with This Moment. Founding members guitarist John McLaughlin and tabla master Zakir Hussain are joined by percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram (aka V. Selvaganesh, since 1999), vocalist Shankar Mahadevan (since 2001), and violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan. The roots of This Moment lie in the pre-production process of Is That So? a 2020 album by McLaughlin, Hussain, and Mahadevan. McLaughlin’s guitars here are synthesized, acting as harmonic companions for Mahadevan’s singing and konokols — percussive vocal syllables — and Hussain’s improvised tablas. Rajagopalan is the guitarist’s frontline companion. This set initially came together through online jam sessions during and after the pandemic. It was ultimately recorded in four studios on three continents. The sound is quite modern: acoustic guitars from the early albums have been replaced by organic-sounding electric guitars. McLaughlin employs them as accompaniment sure, but also as a sonic backdrop, effects generator, harmonic catalyst, and solo instrument.

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