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[Off The Record]
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Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan

Anyone looking for signs of the great qawwali singer’s failing health in the last recording session before his sudden death, in 1997, will be surprised by this two-disc release. Once Nusrat became hip, his work was packaged as progressive pop, art-world music, dance remixes, and film soundtracks, but he always sounded best just the way he is here, fronting his nine-man " party " of singers backed by harmonium and tabla.

These eight pieces span some 15 minutes each, as they would in one of Nusrat’s memorable concerts. They embody slamming hook melodies and expansive vocal improvisations by Nusrat and Rahmat Ali Khan — Nusrat’s nephew and the inheritor of his mantle — all powered by ecstatic, propulsive rhythms. Most of the texts are overtly religious, though some suggest secular romantic interpretations. If you already have a shelf full of Nusrat CDs, The Final Recordings offers nothing you won’t find on the best of those. However, everything here is as good as anything you’ll find on the best of those.


Issue Date: June 28 - July 5, 2001

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