MASTERS OF PERSIAN MUSIC Without You (Harmonia Mundi) Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Full credit to the genius who decided to record this explosive collection of Persian folk music live rather than in a sterile studio. Without You is all about performance, musical and vocal. The Masters of Persian Music -- a trio of Iranian musicians on lute, spike fiddle and hand-held drum -- stretch out their improvisations here, but it's the vocalizing of singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian that's most hair-raising. His elastic voice and ecstatic shouting make this traditional music sound utterly alive and add crucial levity to the stately poetry of Hafez, Attar and Mowlavi. Like a supergroup without the battling egos or dodgy baggage. Masters of Persian Music play the Toronto Centre for the Arts Friday and Sunday (November 8 and 10).