Shakti with John McLaughlin A Handful Of Beauty  

A Handful Of Beauty. Firstly, this album should have had a different title. Rock fans of the day (early 1977) did not want to purchase an album with such a title. It didn't help any to have a picture of John McLaughlin on the cover dressed and smiling as if was a guru himself. What is really interesting about this album is its overall darkness. This is in stark contrast to its album cover which indicates joy and peace and all the elements which were stretched beyond endurance in the 1970's.
With the exception of the opening cut, a free-spirited and wildly fun "La Danse Du Bonheur", this album features dense compositions which provoke deep re-appraisels of one's own life. The musical highlight is "India" Short RealAudio sample Short RealAudio sample. "India" seems to investigate the underside of the Eastern World and finds McLaughlin bending notes beyond credibility and Shankar's violin, or perhaps viola, soars in the lower registers. As was later to be the case on Natural Elements, one of the highlights of the two Shakti studio recorded efforts is the high quality of sound engineering. The pristeen sounds of the instrumentation is outstanding. This album should be played relatively loud, late at night, lights-off, with a cup of tea. The listener should be in a reflective mood.

Walter Kolosky

Walter Kolosky is a jazz fan and founder of who lives in Braintree, MA, USA


1. La Danse du Bonheur - (4:48)
2. Lady L - (7:23) (L.Shankar)
3. India - (12:31) (J.McLaughlin/L.Shankar)
4. Kriti - (2:58) (trad. South Indian composition)
5. Isis - (15:11) (J.McLaughlin/L.Shankar)
6. Two Sisters - (4:41) (J.McLaughlin)

John McLaughlin - acoustic guitar
L. Shankar - violin
Zakir Hussain - tabla
T. H. Vinayakram - ghatam, mridangam

Recorded in August 1976 at Trident Studios, London.
Produced by John McLaughlin

  Sony SRCS 7015 (p) 1977