Alla Rakha and Buddy Rich - Rich à la Rakha


Jazz snare & ride cymbal meet classical Indian tabla & pakhawaj!

What happens when one of the best jazz drummers of all time combines efforts with one of India’s most renowned tabla players? Voilà! Rich À La Rakha. Calypso-flavored compositions, spontaneous jams, and a genuine instrumental dialogue between the two greats truly makes this a one-of-a-kind listen. Cut all analog!

In 1968, as young America’s interest in Indian classical music was surging to its peak, Alla Rakha made a landmark record with the big band jazz drummer Buddy Rich. Rich, like Alla Rakha, is an icon, often ranked very near the top of any list of ‘greatest drummers’ regardless of genre. Rich was an exuberant, hot tempered man who frequently alienated friends and peers but, at the same time, “was one of the most technically gifted drummers to ever walk our planet. He had incredible speed and control, power and touch.”

Ravi Shankar composed several compositions for both men to play together and brought in smooth jazz flautist Paul Horn (who studied meditation in Rishikesh at the same time as The Beatles in 1968) as well as sitarist Shamim Ahmed to create a musical space within which the two geniuses could experiment. The album Rich à la Rakha, which we share today, is a milestone in the ‘jazz meets Indian classical music’ story.

– Nate Rabe

(Harmonium: Musical Culture from South Asia and the Diaspora)