Common Ground Magazine Review: Dreaming of Now

Here is Lloyd Barde’s review of Dreaming of Now in the December/January 2014 issue of Common Ground. 

by LLOYD BARDE (, Music Editor Common Ground Magazine                          

Following the acclaim of his debut album, Sacred Love, guitarist Shambhu brings his instrumental reveries to new heights of heartfelt ensemble brilliance. With a luminous troupe of master musicians, Shambhu weaves his spirit-freeing songs into the joyous tapestry of Dreaming of Now.  

The album’s co-producer, Will Ackerman, pioneering founder and guitar genius of Windham Hill Records, describes it as “bold, assured composition and performance which unquestionably establishes Shambhu as not only a principal player in the New Age world, but also as a force to be reckoned with in a far broader spectrum.”  This is a masterful album in every sense, with spectacularly gorgeous compositions that invariably “conduct” and lead some of the finest musicians in contemporary circles.  The songs form like drops of a rainbow-drenched waterfall of intricately woven melodies.  Shambhu fuses many styles into a formidable whole, and it takes some time to digest the full force of these complex and delicate yet powerful pieces. One track, “Starbucks Landing,” relies on Allman Brothers-like guitar riffs that are placed in a stylish setting, at once spicy and dazzling.

As to be expected, the cello of Eugene Friesen is sublime and heartfelt, while Charlie Bisharat’s dervish-like violin is downright incendiary. There’s a little Jazz influence from brilliant and compelling percussion played by Celso Alberti, in tandem with the piano of Frank Martin accompanying Shambhu’s guitar. Besides all that, there is excellent bass from Kai Eckhardt and some superb Flugelhorn from the one and only Jeff Oster. Shambhu is joined by Premik Russell Tubbs on Wind Synth and Flute as well, and the combination of these two gives the listener the perfect example of just how exquisite contemporary acoustic music can be.  George Brooks brings in a singular sax right where it’s most effective, and, above all, it’s Shambhu’s beautiful guitar based pieces that continually lift this album to unimaginable heights of melodic majesty. His arrangements dazzle and beguile with their endless intricacies and utterly brilliant delivery.  Especially amazing is that these tracks were created live in Fantasy studios “in the moment” — solid compositional ideas and a bunch of superstar musician friends making musical magic!  Overdubbing occurred later and the completion and mixing was done at Will Ackerman’s Imaginary Road studios.

Hear for yourself — it just doesn’t get any better than Dreaming of Now! Catch Shambhu’s CD Release party at East West Bookstore in Palo Alto on Dec. 7 with Will Ackerman and others.