Sitar in jazz

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The history of the sitar in jazz, that is the fusion of the sounds of Indian Classical music with Western jazz, dates back from the late-1950s or early-1960s when musicians trained in Indian Classical music such as Ravi Shankar started collaborating with jazz musicians such as Tony Scott and Bud Shank. Later jazz recordings containing sitar music include albums by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, Joe Harriott (in collaboration with composer John Mayer), and Ornette Coleman.

Early uses of the Sitar in Jazz

Although music based around the sitar would later spread from jazz to more popular music via The Beatles, the sitar became more widely known in the western world mainly through the work of Indian musicians such as Pandit Ravi Shankar, beginning in the late 1950s. From there it was taken up by jazz musicians and would later became a youth phenomenon in the mid-1960s after Beatle George Harrison took lessons from Shankar and played sitar on several songs.

The first recorded collaboration between Indian and Jazz musicians occurred in 1961 with Ravi Shankar and a group led by the West Coast American saxophonist/flautist Bud Shank. Their album entitled Improvisations only features one track, "Improvisations on the theme music from Pather Panchali," in which Ravi Shankar and the Western musicians play together. The track is remarkable for little else; it is simply Western film music with the sitar playing the melody. However, it is interesting to note that...
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