Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #10

Although not an actual member of Frank Zappa‘s band, Lakshmirnarayana Shankar definitely made a mark on countless numbers of Zappa’s fans (including myself, I might add) when he first appeared on stage with Zappa in Deutschlandhalle, Berlin, Germany on September 7th, 1978, performing “The Deathless Horsie” alongside Zappa – as well as L. Shankar’s subsequent appearances in concerts in the tours that followed. Whether it was Ponty, or Sugarcane Harris, Zappa always had an ear for the unique and innovative player – and L. Shankar was no exception.

Today’s Sunday Big Note combines the talents of Lakshmirnarayana Shankar, Jan Garbarek, Trilok Gurtu and Naná Vasconcelos – all have made records for the German label, ECM, either under their own names or as participants in somebody else’s groups, yet to my knowledge, these four have never appeared together on an official release – performing in this live FM broadcast from the Blue Danube Jazz Summit in Hollabrunn, Austria on July 6th, 1985:

Rest and Peace/Let’s Go Home

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Voices

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Song For Everyone

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Watching You

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Ali’s Halluzinations Pt. I

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Ali’s Halluzinations Pt. II

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Loner

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The Players:

Lakshmirnarayana Shankar* – 10-string double violin
Jan Garbarek – tenor and soprano saxophones
Trilok Gurtu – percussion
Naná Vasconcelos – percussion

Note: the above video are Handycam fragments of these same players from their performance at the 14th Debrecen Jazzdays, Jazz Napok, Debrecen Sport Hall, Debrecen, Hungary (sometime between July 18-21, 1985) performing “Conversation” and “Watching You”.

*L. Shankar now currently goes by the name Shenkar.

4 Responses to “Sunday Big Note – Listening Session #10”

  1. P-Rip says:

    I posed this question to The John McLaughlin list some time ago, so may as well repeat it here. Through the years, how many band members did McLaughlin and Zappa share through the years? One-off performances don’t count – only actual band members. (But let’s cheat just this once and count L. Shankar. True, he wasn’t an “official” band member, but he did make several appearances throughout a single tour.

    As a side issue, I wonder if L. Shankar was paid for his performances? I’m curious just from a “music business” perspective. Was he temporarily counted as a member of the band? Is there a union rate for guest performances? Did Zappa just cover expenses?

  2. Balint says:

    Oh, yeah, Debrecen, Hungary! :-)

    Debrecen was (still is?) a kind of a center of jazz music in Eastern Europe in the old days, when the Iron Curtain still existed. So was Poland – but being really small at that time (and not really a jazz-fan) of course I’ve only heard about it.

  3. urbangraffito says:

    A quote from Balint:

    Oh, yeah, Debrecen, Hungary! :-)

    Debrecen was (still is?) a kind of a center of jazz music in Eastern Europe in the old days, when the Iron Curtain still existed. So was Poland – but being really small at that time (and not really a jazz-fan) of course I’ve only heard about it.

    It is rumored that the Communist Police beat the audience members upon leaving this concert, though I could not actually confirm this for this post (so I left that information out).

    A quote from P-Rip:

    I posed this question to The John McLaughlin list some time ago, so may as well repeat it here. Through the years, how many band members did McLaughlin and Zappa share through the years? One-off performances don’t count – only actual band members. (But let’s cheat just this once and count L. Shankar. True, he wasn’t an “official” band member, but he did make several appearances throughout a single tour.

    As a side issue, I wonder if L. Shankar was paid for his performances? I’m curious just from a “music business” perspective. Was he temporarily counted as a member of the band? Is there a union rate for guest performances? Did Zappa just cover expenses?

    I’m certain L. Shankar was paid for his performances (or something was arranged between himself and FZ) considering he appeared at other concerts during other tours.

    From what I can tell, Ponty was the only violinist who was an “official” member of Zappa’s band. Sugarcane Harris was one of Zappa’s preferred session players, but his “struggles with substance abuse” no doubt made him “unreliable for his scheduled performances”. And L. Shankar’s own interests in his own projects and world jazz made him an only temporary (although spectacular) addition.

  4. Robert says:

    Check out the 4:07 mark: Love the guy in the audience who points to the stage to tell the guy behind the camera “Dude, get that camera out of my face and show the audience more of these fine musicians. YES, OVER THERE, YOU MORON!” Pretty different from today were folks always scream “OMG, i’m on TV!” when a camera hits them.

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