Debashish Bhattacharya ‘Calcutta Slide Guitar’ (Special Edition)CD/DVD (World Music Network) 4/5

Previously chronicled in the original studio edition which has earned critical acclaim and introduced many to his music, Bhattacharya has pioneeered the use of the slide guitar within the field of Indian classical music and became a ‘pandit’ or master at the age of forty. Furthermore he has come to prominence equally as a member of the revived and renewed line-up of Shakti under the aegis of John McLaughlin.

This latest CD features an entirely new selection of pieces recorded live in trio format, but indoors with, as a bonus, the live studio concert on DVD. Excellent audio and visual quality enable the viewer to appreciate the trio’s ensemble playing and of the five lengthy pieces, the opener ‘Usha’ and ‘Aanadan’ stand out as particularly fine examples of Bhattacharya’s craft. The only drawback is there is no interview with Bhattachrya explaining how he has adapted the Hawaian slide guitar to Indian classical music. That would have greatly enhanced our understanding. Otherwise an excellent illustration of one of the new masters of Indian music.Tim Stenhouse

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