Bustan Abraham was an Israeli music collective that made several albums of what can only be called ‘light fusion jazz cum world sounds’. As ugly as most labels go, this one is one of the most ugly. But the music, for which I am a big time sucker, is brilliant. And of course beyond classification or silly labels.
Fanar is a 1997 release featuring the Indian giants Zakir Hussain (tabla) and Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (bansuri/bamboo flute). Fanar means ‘lantern’ in Arabic and it is appropriate because this is as I said brilliant. The music sparkles even on the slower more moody numbers. The playing is virtuoistic and crisp. These gentlemen are really enjoying playing with each other.
The highlight for me and the inspiration for the title of this post is the playing of Chaurasia. The young wrestler turned revolutionary classical musician is no doubt one of the finest Indian artists ever. Many non-Indian acts have drawn on him over the years to jam with or to add a certain exotic Indian spice to their work. But this album is the first time I have ever heard Chaurasia sound as if he is a true jazz flautist. In the opening track especially, but throughout the album, he blows his instrument with the same intensity as Coltrane. And in so doing, invokes the sounds of Hubert Laws or even Ian Anderson. If you had no idea who was playing I think very few would identify the Allahabadi Chaurasia.
Just as when the first time I really heard Coltrane and had to stop doing whatever I was doing to just listen, so to with Fanar.
Five stars recommendation!
- Sama’i Kurd
- Till the End of Time
- Seven Eleven
- Black Seagull