with Ravi Shankar
Abbaji with Zakir & Taufiq
venerable master would later achieve world reknown as Pandit Ravi
Shankar's chief accompanist during his apex in the 1960s, delighting
audiences in the West with his percussive wizardry, both as an uncanny
accompanist with flawless timing and sensitivity as well as a soloist
where he was a master of improvisation, a prolific composer and
an electric showman.
The Ustad popularized the art of tabla playing all over the globe,
elevating the status and respect of his instrument. Abbaji (as he
was affectionately known) also bridged the gap between Carnatic
music and Hindustani music by performing with both reknowned Carnatic
musicians as well as other Hindustani stalwarts.
a message of condolence to Mr Khan's family, Indian Prime Minister
Atal Behari Vajpayee said he was a colossus of Indian classical
music. "The country has lost an accomplished maestro whose mastery
over the tabla created waves all over the world," Mr Vajpayee said.
President K R Narayanan said with Mr Khan's demise "an uncommon
pulsation has been stilled. His wrists, palms and fingers produced
from the tabla a percussion of magical quality which maintained
the tenor and tempo of India's uniquely assimilative musical culture."
once said in an interview that when he played outside India, his
aim was to teach the Western world about the beauty of Indian music.
When asked to say a few words at his 80th birthday celebrations
last year, he played the tabla instead. "This is the language I
know," he told the audience. He is survived by his wife Bavi Bengum,
three sons, Zakir Hussain, Fazal Qureshi and Taufiq Qureshi, his
daughter Khurshida Qureshi, and nine grandchildren.