Personnel: Kenny G (saxophone); Rahul Sharma (vocals); Marc Jackson Burrows (guitar, Fender Rhodes piano, keyboards, drums); Prasad Sashtey, Jackie Vanjari (keyboards).
Audio Remixers: Marc JB; Kid Tricky.
Liner Note Author: Rahul Sharma .
Recording information: Kenny G's Studio, Los Angeles, CA; Rahul Sharma's Studio, Mumbai, India.
Photographers: Dominick Guillemot; Jatin Kamani.
Namaste is a collaborative album by contemporary jazz saxophonist Kenny G and producer, Indian santoor master, and vocalist Rahul Sharma. This version was issued on Kenny G's label, Concord, and is actually quite different from the original incarnation of the album, which was titled Namaste, India and released in 2011 in India. This collaboration began when Sharma saw Gorelick play in Mumbai and invited him to come and hear his own music. The two were drawn to the possibility of a collaboration, and recorded Namaste, India. Concord was interested in a wider reception for the recording. In order do get it, they felt -- and the musicians readily agreed -- to some "tweaking." They called on mixologist and producer Marc Burrows (known here as Kid Tricky) of the U.K. dance music group Bimbo Jones. While the original contained seven compositions, this one has ten. Burrows re-sequenced the set and brought the backbeat to a pronounced place in the foreground, adding what the label calls a "chill vibe" and making the entire date sound geared toward club music as a world fusion exercise. He remixed the title track and "Transcendental Consciousness," and provided a bonus dance mix of the title track to bookend the set. Burrows also played bass, guitar, keyboards, and drums and provided loops throughout. Sharma, a native of Kashmir and a third-generation master of the exotic 100-string santoor, is a classically trained musician. It is he who shines brightest here, both his instrumental skills and his singing. Check his gorgeous playing on "Dance of the Elephant God," "Valley of Flowers," and "Silsila" for proof. Kenny G is Kenny G; his melodic licks are so familiar they could have appeared on any of his records; the only thing that's different on Namaste is that they are occasionally uptempo. There is no doubt that G's fans will likely follow him here (the album entered the contemporary jazz chart at number two and the title track at number one) and consider this a brave new direction. Fair enough. The real hope here is that Western listeners will take notice of Sharma's talent and become interested enough to seek out the original mix of this record and his other albums to boot. ~ Thom Jurek