PAUL HORN — Inside (aka Inside the Taj Mahal) (review)

PAUL HORN — Inside (aka Inside the Taj Mahal) album cover Album · 1968 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Miler72
Paul Horn went to India in the middle of filming a documentary that was never finished, and while there, talked a guard into letting him play his flute inside the dome of the Taj Mahal and got a chance to record it. Turns out Epic Records was willing to release it, and all the better for it. It's quite a departure from the jazz albums he released before. What you get here is peaceful, tranquil flute music played in the Taj Mahal with the wonderful echo of the dome. Occasionally the Taj Mahal guard will provide his voice and one song, unsurprisingly entitled "Unity" features both Horn's flute and the guard's vocal. The music has a rather exotic feel to it, but some of that jazz influence shows up in Horn's flute playing, which is obviously no surprise. This album helped define New Age music. Way back in my late teens I used to think Enigma's MCMXC a.D. was pleasant night time music, but that album's big problem were the dance beats got in the way, but the Gregorian chanting and gloomy atmosphere was what I enjoyed of that album. Nowadays, Paul Horn's Inside is my favorite night time meditation album. If you own either the original LP on the yellow Epic label or the second pressing on the orange label, it came with pasted on book describing the Taj Mahal and how this recording was made. Unfortunately the 1980s pressing (the script Epic logo label) lacked this booklet. I remembered in the 1980s being inflicted by those Zamfir TV ads advertising just how utterly haunting and beautiful those recordings are and to my ears they just made me sick to the stomach. Paul Horn's Inside gives me the total opposite, it has that mystical, dreamy quality that I love and deserves the "beautiful and haunting" label way more than Zamfir ever deserved. Maybe not exactly a jazz album here, but a great album to meditate too.
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