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  • Steve Sheppard

'Soothe' Review - OneWorldMusic Radio

I have fond memories of Shambhu’s last release, Dreaming of Now, it came at a time when I need a

slice of calmness in my life, and after passing through that storm I now sit on my veranda in the sunshine, under the shade of a palm tree in Eden, and prepare to listen to his latest album Soothe.

I can honestly say that this album suits my moment perfectly, and the opening piece is a fine example of pure magical musical construction as you would ever wish to find. The realm of Soothe starts with the blissful Knowingness, a track of total awareness, that is peace filled and so very warming to listen to, apart from the artist genius on guitar, pay special attention to the incredible Premik Russell Tubbs whose soprano sax is sumptuous and the floating ethereal vocals of Kristin Hoffman that are equally delicious.

There was a really charming sense of movement on the piece Time Travel, Shambhu really showed his class on guitar on this composition. The more I listened, the more I felt I was truly being pulled from one musical moment in time to another. This is what I would term as a clever track and the narrative created here by the musician was most appealing, and also very light in its overall feeling. This is one of those pieces you just can’t help but like.

The next offering has a title that would be perfect for an album header, Days Like Falling Stars, and this sparklingly delicate, but intricate composition is as soft as it is soothing. You will find something extra special in this arrangement, as it features the work of Paul McCandless, whose brilliance is featured twice on the album, with performances on both English horn and soprano sax. His partnership on this piece with Shambhu is simply outstanding.

On Devotion Tears we have something very moving, and when you add the slide guitar of Todd Boston into the mix you are of course going to have a total winner of a track. The tempo of this piece is perfection and the partnership creates a sense of expansion to the track, one that feels like your heart is literally opening up to the arrangement.

Through the offering Prelude 2, we have one of the finest pieces off the album that offers the listener a real mixture of styles, ranging from smooth jazz, to blues and back to new age ambience. The guitars of the master here (acoustic and electric) were amazingly graphic and sensually fluent, add to that the soprano sax of George Brooks and you have a perfect eclectic musical gift.

Through New Eyes has such a delicate texture about its initial construction; it was simply a blessing to listen to. The build and progression of this piece really deserves to be listened to multiple times, as you really don’t want to miss any of the intricate nuances in it. A tip of the hat must go to the wonderful Bansuri flute performance of Ravichandra Kulur in this composition.

We now move onwards into the deeper regions of the album and come across a real global fusion of a piece called Gaia’s Sweet Divine. I must admit the name of Kristin Hoffman was new to me, but no more and I must applaud her work on vocals on this track, add to that the almost Ian Anderson styled performance from Ravichandra Kulur and the vibrant percussive work of Jeff Haynes, yes, you have found my personal favourite on the album, a totally outstanding performance by all, and what a wonderfully powerful composition to revel in.

I must admit a secret, my favourite moment on any album is usually the title track, so here it is, its Soothe and for me, I look to this piece for the artist to express himself and the entire concept of the album on a musical canvas. Shambhu has not only taken that opportunity, but has completely blown me away with the performance, a real mixture of moods can be found from him right here, a little emotional lilt is also partnered by an undeniably consistent and classy performance by Michael Manring on bass.

So our last port of call, our last sojourn, our last gift from Shambhu is a lush and sweet piece called Walking Through a Dream. This smooth jazz ending gives us the ever happy and eager listener a perfect ending to an album that is so chilled and laid back, even the passing clouds would drift off into a peaceful reverie to it.

Shambhu has brought together a super group of musicians here to aid his cause and he has been ultra-successful in the outcome. I have listened to many albums this year, but this is one that will stand out as my go to release if I just want to be chilled, sit by (or in) my pool, or just enjoy a glass of wine and be forever grateful that artists like Shambhu and albums like Soothe have been manifested into my reality for me to literally give myself to and be calm within.

Soothe by Shambhu is a slice of musical class, it’s an amalgamation of quality artists who clearly have one thing in common, the drive, the purpose to create music that is top of its class. Shambhu’s undeniably skilful performance on the album is truthfully the best I have heard this year, as a guitarist he is supremely smooth and sublimely confident. This is one album you really have to have in your collection.

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