Some of you may know John McLaughlin and the Mahavishnu Orchestra. I saw the original Mahavishnu Orchestra when I was in high school in the 1970s and I was mesmerized. Their albums “Birds of Fire” and “Inner Mounting Flame” are jazz fusion classics and the albums contain poems by Sri Chinmoy. Carlos Santana was also a devotee of Sri Chinmoy.
After Mahavishnu, John McLaughlin went on to form the band Shakti. Shakti musician Zakir Hussain is the Ravi Shankar of the tablas in Hindustani music and of course, John McLaughlin is one of the best guitarists in the world. Many of you know Hindustani music only through Ravi Shankar, but Indian music (and Hindustani is only one small part of it) is as varied as India herself.
I know that many yoga people love the popular “yoga” musicians like Jai Uttal, Prem Joshua, and Girish, but if it wasn’t for groundbreakers like John McLaughlin and Shakti, fusing the sounds of Hindustani music with McLaughlin’s guitar, I don’t believe Jai Uttal, et. al. would be around now. Shakti was the real deal.