Life Passage EP
2022 / Tiger Turn Productions
Review by Kathy Parsons
Life Passage EP is a wonderful five-track EP from guitarist/composer Shambhu. Composed and recorded during the pandemic, a time of unprecedented confusion, stress and upheaval, this album offers a place of peace and solace - even if only for a half hour. "Now more than ever, it's important to nurture love, peace and calm within. This music can help." I absolutely agree! In addition to acoustic guitars, Shambhu plays e-pads, bass and e-sitar. Also appearing on various tracks are bassist Michael Manring, Frank Martin (Fender Rhodes and piano), Nathaniel Wolkstein (strings), Premik Russell Tubbs (EWI/French horn and flutes) and Nelson Myers-Daly (Indian percussion). Shambhu composed all of the music except the final track, "Shambhu," which he co-composed with Sri Chinmoy. I have reviewed all of Shambhu's albums to date, and his music has always been difficult to categorize (a good thing!), undoubtedly due to his lifelong experience with working with musicians in a wide variety of genres - from rock to world to new age to jazz - and more! What is always consistent is the heartfelt emotional expression in his music, and his quest to bring soothing guitar to a peaceful world.
Life Passage EP begins with "Because of You," a trio for acoustic guitar, bass and Fender Rhodes (keyboard). A beautifully expressive piece that overflows with tenderness and deep sincerity, it is an evocative start that sets the soothing and graceful tone of the full EP. If I could only choose one piece on Life Passage EP as my favorite, I think "Gentle Flower" would be it. A duet for guitar and piano (plus e-pads and bass played by Shambhu), the slow, effortless pace and the beauty of the music combine to soothe the mind and uplift the spirit. "Life Passage" was released as a single earlier this year and reflects on the unexpected passing of pianist/composer Chick Corea, an artist Shambhu studied with online during the pandemic. Shambhu dedicated this solo piece for guitar and e-pads to Corea, "honoring the nobility of his soulful life and the gift of his inspiring and magical music." "Mars Dawn" was also released as a single and takes us on a relaxing and inspiring journey to The Red Planet. Shambhu's acoustic guitars and e-pads are enhanced with strings (Nathaniel Wolkstein) and EWI / French horn (Premik Russell Tubbs). More orchestrated than many of Shambhu's recordings, the soothing and pensive guitar floats on a peaceful cloud of sounds, creating a dreamy mood and freeing your imagination. What would it be like to take the first trip to Mars? Hmmmm. The fifth track, "Shambhu," is an Indian temple-beat fusion based on a melody by Sri Chinmoy. Shambhu plays guitar, e-sitar and e-pads and is accompanied by New Zealand world percussionist Nelson Myers-Daly and Premik Russell Tubbs on bansuri flute. The sway of the easy rhythms, the gentle guitar and expressive flute create an East meets West trio capable of speaking to every set of ears that hears it.
What a great album! Soulful, soothing, uplifting and so beautiful, Life Passage EP shouldn't be missed! It is available from Amazon, Apple Music/iTunes and streaming sites such as Spotify. Very highly recommended!
September 29, 2022