Sangeet Millennium Ensemble

Sangeet Millennium Ensemble: Sangeet Safar

A virtuoso sitarist living in Austin, Texas might seem like a long shot, but then again, one named Amie Maciszewski may be even less likely. Yet the New Mexico-raised musician studied the stringed instrument in India for a decade under the late sitar master, Prof. Suresh Misra, before returning to America. Since the early 1990s, she has continued her ongoing traditional study with two leading gurus: Grammy-nominated sarode Maestro Aashish Khan and Hindustani vocal diva Padmabhushan Girija Devi.
Sangeet Millennium Ensemble

Sangeet Millennium Ensemble

Maciszewski then co-founded the non-profit Society for India Music in Albuquerque in 1990; moved the organization to Austin in 1993, and eventually re-named it Sangeet Millennium. Her Sangeet Millennium Ensemble’s second CD, Sangeet Safar, features her searching excursions with saxophonist Paul Klemperer, tabla drummer Shiv Naimpally and guest bassist Jay Srinivasan.

Sangeet Safar provides as many musical questions as answers, but that’s an endearing quality rooted in the sitar’s mystery, especially to those who primarily listen to Western music. Maciszewski arranged much of the CD from traditional Indian ragas, several of which feature alaps, or slow introductions — especially on the live tracks that make up half of the disc.

The opening Hamsadhwani/Sound of the Swan is a case in point, featuring a four-minute improvised alap for sitar and saxophone before Naimpally adds the tablas to the crowd-pleasing 16-beat cycle Gat in sitarkhani taal. Chandrakauns/Moonrays likewise features an alap duet that leads to an even longer live medley, during which Naimpally plays a shell game with the time signature in the concluding Gat in Teental.

Jazzy Joghi features ample improvised exchanges between the three principal players, as does Klemperer’s original studio track Metal Fruit Dream. It’s the only track to feature Srinivasan, whose bass provides a bouncing counterpoint. The saxophonist’s other composition, Doriana, opens with his solo amid Maciszewski’s droning figures, and closes with the two harmonizing over Naimpally’s anchoring tabla rhythms.

The closing studio medley Bhairavi Alap/After Our Eyes Have Met ends the disc where it began, other than being a studio track, as Maciszewski and Klemperer craft an intoxicating, four-minute conversational coda between their instruments.


Amie Maciszewski (sitar)
Paul Klemperer (saxophones)
Shiv Naimpally (tabla drums)
Jay Srinivasan (bass)


1. Hamsadhwani/Sound of the swan (alap)
2. Gat in sitarkhani taal
3. Todi/Dark Fawn (alap)
4. Bandish in teental
5. Doriana
6. Chandrakauns/Moonrays (alap)
7. Gat in teental
8. Metal Fruit Dream
9. Jazzy Joghi
10. Bhairavi Alap/After Our Eyes Have Met

Bill Meredith

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