Ghazal's third album "Moon Rise Over the Silk Road" is an extremely strong recording that has some extremely bright spots and memorable moments.
Swapan Chaudhuri's explosive entrance into "Fire In My Heart" is unforgettable and shows why he is one of the world's most sought-after tabla players. Sitarist Shujaat Khan and kemencheh player Kayhan Kalhor continue to tighten up their "great experiment" (by that I mean the fusing of two distinct musical traditions.) They pull it off 99% of the time and have created an emotional, passionate, and beautiful album. At times it seems a little rushed or forced perhaps, but this album is superior to virtually every fusion record on the market. I still prefer Ghazal's "As Night Falls on the Silk Road" album, it is tight and never meanders.
That's not to say that this isn't a fine recording though and worthwhile of your hard-earned cash. The short instrumental "Pari Mahal" sees the group expanding its parameters a little bit by bringing in some auxillary percussion and its quite a nice addition.
Also the group brings in additional help on "Besh'no az Nay." Chaudhuri is replaced by the young tabla titan Sandeep Das who's playing can be likened to a machine-gun in concert! Also present on this track is Kayhor's longtime accompanist Pejman Hadadi, who is an incredible tombak player. I know I've spent a lot of time talking about the accompanists, but its because they play a major role on this recording. Kalhor's kemencheh is just as beautiful (and capable of evoking tears of both joy and sadness) as it ever was, and Khan's lilting sitar is still capable of lulling the listener into a better mood.
The music is accessible, but not trite (a good combination.) Like the Amazon.com reviewer, I also highly recommend Kalhor's solo album "Scattering Stars Like Dust," and many of Shujaat Khan's solo albums are worth looking into as well (especially the one with 6 tracks that's self-titled and released on India Archive Music.)
Overall this is a highly enjoyable record, and if you enjoyed their first two this one will provide more great hours of listening. While I don't think its quite as strong as the previous release, Khan & Kalhor must be praised for not sitting on their laurels, but by expanding their already potent and full sound.