Shakti with John McLaughlin Natural Elements  

Natural Elements was the third and last Shakti album (late 1977) and offers a more cohesive and structured presentation in themes and shorter tunes. An attempt or two is taken at making the music more accessable by including pleasing hooks and some humor but, there was no chance of this music gaining mass popularity. After all, it was jazz and it was Indian. There is some mind-bending playing as well on Natural Elements and this is especially true of McLaughlin's playing on "Face to Face". His solo is a career highlight as he quite literally tears apart the elements of every scale and seemlessly dips in and out of flowing lines and changing times. The funk representative, "Get Down and Sruti", has a delightful kick. The use of the juice harp (mouth harp) throughout the album is a welcome addition and compliments the band's mix. Natural Elements is less somber than Shakti's previous release, Handful of Beauty, which offered more Indian Classical music than Jazz. Natural Elements offers more Pop Jazz, Jazz and less Indian Classical music. Despite the beauty and fun of this album, it was obvious the music was running out and it was time to move on.

Walter Kolosky

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

RealAudio sample Happiness Is Being Together


1. Mind Ecology - (3:20) (J.McLaughlin)
2. Face to Face - (5:56) (J.McLaughlin/L.Shankar)
3. Come on Baby Dance with Me - (1:55) (L.Shankar)
4. The Daffodil and the Eagle - (7:00)
5. Happiness is Being Together - (4:26) (J.McLaughlin)
6. Bridge of Sighs - (3:51) (J.McLaughlin/L.Shankar)
7. Get Down and Sruti - (6:58) (J.McLaughlin/L.Shankar)
8. Peace of Mind - (3:20) (J.McLaughlin)

John McLaughlin - acoustic guitar, vocals
L. Shankar - violin, viola, vocals
Zakir Hussain - tabla, timbales, bongos, dholak,

nal, triangle, vocals
T. H. Vinayakram - ghatam, nal, kanjeera, moorsing
(juice harp), vocals

Recorded at Aquarius Studios, Geneva, Switzerland, July 1977.
Produced by John McLaughlin.

  Sony SRCS 7016 (p) 1977