John McLaughlin and Zakir Hussain Release SHAKTI "This Moment"

Article Contributed by MAD Ink PR | Published on Friday, June 23, 2023

Released today, This Moment, a 50th Anniversary celebration album from the groundbreaking global fusion ensemble, SHAKTI. As a cornerstone of what is now called World Music, the vision and virtuosity of Shakti has inspired generations of musicians from around the world to explore sonic hybrids once thought impossible. Born of the musical and spiritual brotherhood shared by the revolutionary British guitarist and bandleader John McLaughlin and master Indian percussionist Zakir Hussain, Shakti’s soulful, organic intermingling of Eastern and Western musical traditions has proven transformative for both the band’s members and its listeners. Now, fifty years after the informal conversations and jam sessions that sparked the band into existence, This Moment – Shakti’s first new studio album in more than 45 years – is available today on both CD and vinyl LP via Abstract Logix.
A heartening feature of this album is the dedication of the recordings by the artistes to the memory of the inimitable late ‘Mandolin’ U. Shrinivas, a former band member of Shakti.

“‘This Moment’, the new ‘studio’ album is a true labor of love. The music on this recording represents a quantum leap in the musical evolution of Shakti. It represents 50 years of working and playing together beginning in 1973. The numerous concerts we have played, the number of times we have been together working on our musical development, have brought us to the point where it has all been brought together here and now in the 21st Century. This album is a crystallization of 5 decades of love and dedication. Our musical evolution recorded here, is really a revolution in the history of Shakti”. – John McLaughlin

A work of immense depth and radiant optimism, This Moment offers a set of new compositions and performances that burn with a rare intensity born out of passion. With McLaughlin (guitar, guitar synth) and Hussain (tabla) joined by vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, and percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram, the Shakti of now is a powerfully dynamic collective, defined by deft interplay, dazzling unison passages, extraordinarily dexterous improvisations, and the ability to draw from a vast well of global traditions and, miraculously, put them in conversation with one another.
We took advantage of the fact that we were all isolated during the lockdown, and John ji took the lead. So, from remote places all over the world, files were going back and forth, we had a common dropbox, everybody listened to it put their part, brought it back, exchanged comments on a WhatsApp group, oh my god! how we executed this album ‘This Moment’ is really remarkable. It was an experience and we really enjoyed the process.” –  Shankar Mahadevan

The compositions making up This Moment each pass through a series of connected movements, highlighting different vocal and instrumental sub-groups within Shakti while transitioning between taut thematic statements, riveting solos from McLaughlin and Rajagopalan, invigorating rhythmic shifts, and soaring vocal passages by Mahadevan. McLaughlin’s contributions are remarkable in their ability to reconcile the great Ragas of North and South India with a chromaticism born of jazz and the blues, and the speed and precision of his articulation remains exhilarating. The engine room of Hussain and Vinayakram (son of original Shakti ghatam player T.H. “Vikku” Vinayakram) gives space to allow passages to breathe and resound, while equally capable of fomenting a roiling, galloping underpinning that push the soloists to increasingly ecstatic heights.

The discovery each time you sit as a group, to play and perform, is like climbing the Everest from different angles. Every time it is a whole different point of view, marveling at how you do the same but it’s not the same. Having that kind of interaction, conversation between the group, the creative idea process is something that is Shakti and it is exclusive to Shakti.” – Zakir Hussain

Shakti will be celebrating the release of This Moment by undertaking an extensive performance tour scheduled to begin on June 27 & 28 in London with Special Guests Gary Husband & Nguyên Lê, followed by Europe and thereafter their first U.S. tour in eighteen years. Beginning August 17 in Boston, the shows further reinforce Shakti’s pan-cultural ethos by introducing jazz and American elements via supporting spots by either Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck, Bill Frissell or John Scofield – “Truly fine musicians whom I’ve admired for decades,” in McLaughlin’s words. The feeling is mutual, with Fleck recalling that “hearing Shakti was a revelation,” and Scofield adding, “I’m as much looking forward to playing on the bill with Shakti’s 50th Anniversary tour as simply being there to hear them.”

A full list of Shakti’s 2023 dates is below. Visit for additional details.

June 27 Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, London, England
June 28 Hammersmith Eventim Apollo, London, England
June 30 Timisoara Jazz Festival, Timisoara, Romania
July 2  Erkel Theatre, Budapest, Hungary
July 5  Kongsberg Jazz Festival Kongsberg, Norway
July 7  Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg, Germany
July 9  North Sea Jazz Festival, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Aug 17 Wang Theater, Boston, MA ***
Aug 19 The Capitol Theatre, Port Chester, NY ***
Aug 20 NJPAC, Newark, NJ *
Aug 22 The Keswick, Glenside, PA *
Aug 23 Wolf Trap Vienna, VA *
Aug 25 Cobb Energy Center, Atlanta, GA*
Aug 27 Koka Booth Amp, Cary, NC*
Aug 29 Palace Theatre, Columbus, OH*
Aug 31 Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
Sept 3 Ravinia Festival, Highland Park, IL*
Sept 5 Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland, OR****
Sept 6 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA*
Sept 8 Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts, Davis, CA **
Sept 9 Davies Symphony Hall, San Francisco, CA
Sept 11 Irvine Barclay Theatre, Irvine, CA
Sept 14 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, MI*
Sept 16 Riverbend Centre of the Arts, Austin, TX*
* w/ Béla Fleck
** w/ Bill Frisell
*** w/John Scofield
**** w/Jerry Douglas