February 16, 2015

Ali Akbar Khan - 'Ragas of India' box set sides 4 and 5 (Raga Marwa)

Sides 4 and 5 of this box set are devoted to Raga Marwa. The entire side 4 is an alap, which provided some challenges in terms of surface noise. Certainly, the artistry on display is well worth a few extraneous noises.

February 12, 2015

Ali Akbar Khan - 'Ragas of India' box set side 3 (Raga Aheer Bhairow)

This is the third side in the set.

Sides 4 and 5 are Raga Marwa and I will try to combine these into one post.

Biographic and transfer information will be found in the posting for side one of this set.

February 11, 2015

Ali Akbar Khan - 'Ragas of India' box set side 2 (Raga Goojjari Todi)

Here is the second side (out of six) of the 'Ragas of India' box set. Please see the entry for side one for more details on the set and the transfer information.

Tabla on all pieces in this set is by the great Mahapurush Misra.

February 10, 2015

Ali Akbar Khan - 'Ragas of India' box set side 1 (Raga Chandranandan)

Ali Akbar Khan was born on 14 April 1922  and died 18 June 2009). He was often referred to as Khansahib by his students and admirers. He was a member of the Maihar gharana. 

Khan was instrumental in popularizing Indian Classical Music in the West, both as a performer (often in conjunction with Sitar maestro Ravi Shankar), and as a teacher. He established a music school in Calcutta in 1956, and the Ali Akbar College of Music in 1967, which is now located in San Rafael, California and has a branch in Basel, Switzerland. At one point in the 1970s it was claimed (in liner notes to an album) that his school had already taught more than 2,000 students in the US. The school in California is still very active, and in fact I will be seeing Khansahib's youngest son perform there in just a few weeks. For the first 7 or 8 years of the college's existence, the day to day management of the school was left to one of Khansahib's American students, George Ruckert, who is currently a professor in the Music Department at MIT. Mr Ruckert has stayed over at my house and I can tell you he is a charming man with a wealth of wonderful anecdotes to share, should he ever decide to write an autobiography.

Khan also composed several film scores and was a Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Music[ at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

His father, Allauddin "Baba" Khan, was not only Khansahib's guru, but also counted as close disciples both Ravi Shankar and Nikhil Banerjee. That is a fact that should be kept in mind any time people start arguing about the most influential Hindustani musician of all time.

Khansahib recorded mainly for two labels: EMI India and The Connoisseur Society in the United Stated. The recordings from The Connoisseur Society are famous among audiophiles for their spectacular engineering and mastering.

This box set was an anthology of CS recordings which was released by the Book of the Month Club in the US. Mastered at Sterling Sound and probably pressed by RCA, this 3-LP set can be found for reasonable prices on the used market. Don't pass up this bargain if you have a chance: there is an excellent booklet included, and the sound is magnificent.

The copy I own is in Near Mint condition with very minimal signs of playing only on side 1. The rest of the set looks highly glossy, unmarked, and unplayed. Because of the length of this set, I will be breaking up the posts on a per side basis, with hopefully one side per day.

Equipment used in transfer: 
Turntable: Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780.

Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24/48 resolution
Software: Audacity to normalize and convert to 16/44.1 as well as xAct to convert to flac and mp3

February 2, 2015

Vilayat Khan - Indian Classical Music (1989)

For some people, there will always be the choice between Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan. I am not one of those people. Despite an on-again-off-again rivalry between the two, and genuine differences of style, there is no real reason to choose between the two. Just enjoy the genius of both, is my attitude.

Khan was born on August 28, 1928 and died March 13, 2004. He was one of the several pioneers of his generation to introduce Indian Classical Music to the West, along with Ravi ShankarAli Akbar KhanNikhil Banerjee and his younger brother Imrat Khan. He recorded his first 78-RPM disc at the age of 8, and gave his last concert in 2004 at the age of 75.

He was born in GauripurBritish India to Enayat Khan, a sitar and surbahar maestro, as had been his grandfather, Imdad Khan, before him. He was taught in the family style, known as Etawah Gharana, after small city close to Agra.

As the cover notes, Raga Desh is considered an evening raga, and is fairly popular (especially since so many concerts are in the evening). I probably saw Desh performed live 3 or 4 times last year.

This LP was released by a West German company (Nataraj Music) in 1989. It was recorded in Bombay. This copy is shiny and appears to be unplayed with no scuffs or label markings. The mastering involved DMM, which is known to involve less bass response, so a very tiny boost of the low frequencies was applied in Audacity.

Equipment used in transfer: 
Turntable: Audio-technica AT-LP-1240
Cartridge: Shure M97x
Pre-amplification: Vintage refurbished Pioneer SX-780 receiver.

Recorder: Edirol R-09HR at 24/44.1 resolution
Software: Audacity to normalize, minimally EQ, and convert to 16/44.1 as well as xAct to convert to flac and mp3