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Clive Davis: The Sunday Times

Joe Harriott & John Mayer Double Quintet
Indo-Jazz Fusions 1 & 2
REDIAL 538 048-2 CD

Nobody bats an eyelid today when the Norwegian saxophonist Jan Garbarek joins forces with the percussionist Zakir Hussain. Back in the 1960's though, the notion of East meeting west on equal terms was still daring. All credit to Polygram's Redial label, then, for rescuing violinist-composer John Mayer's indo-Jazz Fusions from the archives 30 years after their first release aroused such interest. Here lie the ancestral roots of 1990's talents such as Talvin Singh, Nitin Sawhney and Trilok Gurtu. Mayer's approach is the more challenging, with Joe Harriott's caustic alto saxophone shadowed by Shake Keane's trumpet as they improvise on traditional Indian scales. The music hardly sounds dated at all; it also provides a less forbidding point of entry to Harriott's often ferocious brand of abstraction. Telly addicts may recall that insistent sitar melody of 'Acka Raga' enjoyed another life as the theme to Ask The Family.

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