Monday, October 17, 2022

Album Review: Life Passage by Shambhu

Review by Abdul Yamani 

The music of acclaimed jazz guitarist and composer Shambhu seems to transport me to a quieter world, where perception and intuition seem clearer. The guitar in his hands always seems to turn into a soothing elixir. Shambhu’s latest EP titled Life Passage is no exception and in my opinion is one of the most inspiring albums that he has released to date.

Comprised of five songs all written, arranged, and produced by Shambhu, with exception of the last track “Shambhu,” co-written with his guru, Sri Chinmoy, the album offers expressive tunes of beauty, serenity and nature canvassed in new age, jazz/fusion and Indian styles. The compositions are accented by an impressive ensemble of accomplished new age, jazz, and world musicians such as bassist Michael Manring, pianist Frank Martin, flutist Premik Russell Tubbs, violinist Nathaniel Wolkstein, and percussionist Nelson Myers-Daly.

The songs on the album are a mélange of contemplation as in the first track “Because of You,” and the beautiful slow waltz “Gentle Flower” in which the guitar talks with the piano; melancholia as in the title track, “Life Passage” featuring Shambhu on acoustic guitar reflecting on the passing of the late jazz pianist and composer Chick Corea who Shambhu studied with online during the pandemic and who passed quite unexpectedly, as well as imaginative and mysterious with “Mars Dawn” taking the listener on a musical journey to the ever intriguing red planet in a backdrop of lush, orchestral strings set by Nathaniel Wolkstein, and a haunting French horn played by the multi-talented Premik Russell Tubbs.

The song titled “Shambhu” changes the pace a little and concludes the album. It is an Indian temple-beat fusion based on a melody by Sri Chinmoy. Shambhu masterfully merges the contemporary with the sacred and traditional in this joy-exuding and centering melody. He plays guitar, e-sitar and e-pads, accompanied by New Zealand world percussionist Nelson Myers-Daly, a member of the meditative music duo, Monk Party, as Premik Russell Tubbs contributes bansuri flute.

Life Passage is a blissful aural retreat you will want to return to time and time again.

Shambhu recorded Life Passage at his Hamptons Sanctuary Studios in Westhampton, NY. The EP was mixed and mastered by Todd Boston at Spatial Sound Studios in Portland, OR.

~Abdul Yamani for Auralscapes 

For more information, please visit Shambhu's website. Life Passage is also available at Amazon, Apple Music and more.