Rough Guide to Ravi Shankar

It is a fitting metaphor for this now-elderly sitar virtuoso’s career that he should have fathered a Western pop star (Norah Jones) and one of the younger generation’s most high-profile Indian classical musicians (Anoushka Shankar). He himself has been both, beginning with his apprenticeship in his brother Uday’s dance troupe and culminating in a legendary collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison. But although Panditji (an honorific capped by an affectionate diminutive) has experimented widely, he never abandoned the disciplines of his youth and his mastery of the hypnotic, multi-stringed sitar continues to awe and inspire. The present selections range from full-length, lushly sensual examples of ragas (which are bound to provoke patchouli flashbacks in sixties veterans) to less traditional excerpts from Transmigration Macabre. Another high point: a thunderous tabla solo from Concert For Peace, wherein Panditji graciously ceded the stage to Zakir Hussain, son of his longtime drummer Alla Rakha. —Christina Roden