Nitin Sawhney – Live at Ronnie Scott’s
Injections of light humour and (very) occasional changes of pace make Live at Ronnie Scott’s an enjoyable retrospective of Sawhney's almost 30-year career
This year, Nitin Sawhney was the recipient of The Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award, so perhaps there’s been no better time to release a new live album. Across three nights in March, Sawhney and his band played a series of intimate gigs at the iconic Ronnie Scott’s, which saw him digging through some of the best moments from his nearly 30-year career, with the accompanying record containing tracks taken from several of his studio albums.
The condensed set presented on Live at Ronnie Scott’s therefore does a fine job of presenting the sheer wealth of styles that Sawhney has mixed across the years, from the familiar tones of Prophesy’s Sunset right through to Redshift taken from 2015’s Dystopian Dream. He covers everything from funk and flamenco to jazz and Indian ragas. Breathing Light captures the spirit of Sawhney’s work in a microcosm, blending cascading piano with tabla breakbeats, Eastern-inspired strings and flute.
It’s a laid-back collection, but it does get a little too slow-paced and meditative in the middle, especially on the likes of Tere Khayal. Despite this, Sawhney does acknowledge that the set saunters into contemplation, calling for a singalong to the tongue-twisting The Conference – he even teaches them Hindi. These injections of light humour and (very) occasional changes of pace make Live at Ronnie Scott’s an enjoyable retrospective.
Listen to: Breathing Light