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LA Times Review

Central Star of Facing East Casts Far-Reaching Spell
by Don Heckman

The all-star world jazz ensemble Facing East, performing at the Skirball Cultural Center on Thursday night, featured drummer Jack DeJohnette, woodwind specialist Paul McCandless and guitarist Paul Bollenback among its personnel. But, for many in the audience, it was Indian tabla player Sandip Burman who was the real center of attention at the fifth of the Skirball's six free Sunset Concerts.

Seated in the center of the ensemble, a radiant smile on his face, Burman kicked off the program with a whirlwind display of the solfege-like syllable singing that is at the core of Indian classical drumming. The sounds and rhythms came so fast, with such precision, uttered with such a visible sense of joy, that both the crowd and the other players were utterly spellbound.

DeJohnette was superb in his solo work, executed with a sensitive ear for the fine tonal nuances of percussion, and his duet improvisations with Burman were as technically adroit as they were witty and engaging. 

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