Aural Awakenings Review: Heart Awakening by Shambhu
by Abdul Yamani
Acclaimed jazz guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer Shambhu (pronounced 'SHOHM-boo') has an impressive background in diverse styles and genres, and an extensive list of big-name collaborations. He worked with Grammy winning record producer Will Ackerman on his 2010 debut album, Sacred Love, which topped New Age music charts, and has recorded with the likes of Carlos Santana, Jeff Oster, Whitney Houston, Paul McCandless, Michael Manring, Frank Martin, Premik Russell Tubbs, and Todd Boston, just to name a few.
Shambhu’s 5th album Heart Awakening (Soothing Guitar for a Peaceful World) released on his
birthday anniversary, May 31st, 2021, in the New Age, Jazz and Contemporary Instrumental genres once again demonstrates his high level of skill, precision, smoothness and mastery of the guitar. The album’s easy flow comes from his desire as he puts it “to uplift, center, and ground” the listener with music which conveys a peace much needed in these uncertain times. With a unique and powerful method of combining music and the meditation practice, Shambhu mindfully allows his intuition to guide his musical creations. In past interviews Shambhu has shared that he visualizes beautiful places which he’s visited that have inspired him. He explains that when he closes his eyes, he tries to feel the essence of the spirit allowing it to flow through him so that he can pass that feeling on to his listeners and they too can visualize what those places felt like for him.
The title track opens the album with Shambhu’s tranquil acoustic guitar illuminating our way to a serene place within. Refreshingly rustic, I felt the calmness of the piece speaks to the listening heart encouraging the soul to awaken to new possibilities.
The second track “Infinite Eyes” features talented musicians Geoffrey Menin on piano, and Matteo Palmer on electric guitar with Shambhu playing both acoustic and electric guitars, bass, and e-sitar. It’s a vibrant musical symphony with variations of audible and visual interest which seem to effectively harmonize the mind, body, and spirit.
“Preparing for flight” takes on a jazzier style and tempo encouraging movement, playfulness, and soulful adventure. This piece features a variety of fun instruments such as marimba, flute, alto sax, teamed up with piano, guitars, drums, and percussion.
“Little B’s Poem” with its capturing piano-led melody complemented with Shambhu’s electric guitar and bass in a lovely sequence has a jazz flair that I really like.
Sax and acoustic guitar are paired exquisitely on the album’s last track, “Song for You”. Tubbs’ saxophone shines on this cheery duet for guitar and sax, a special gift to every listener in a gesture of friendship. This ingenious album provides an uplifting listening experience lighting a path to renewed hope and joy.