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Nathamuni Brothers

Madras 1974 (Fire Museum)

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While traveling South India in the mid-'70s, anthropology prof Robert Garfias crossed paths with the seven-member Nathamuni Brothers. But forget the whole Ravi Shankar-with-sitar stereotype. That's primarily North Indian music, which drones far more than the busy, almost manic brass bands popular at the southern end of the country. The Nathamuni Brothers employ Western instruments (saxophone, clarinet, trumpet) and traditional percussion to create a form of world-jazz fusion that nicks tricks from Middle Eastern grooves, Indonesian folk music, and English military bands. The group's high-pitched melodies, winding runs, and nervy drum whacks have much in common with Don Cherry and Albert Ayler's free-jazz explorations of the '60s, which looked to global folk sounds for inspiration.

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