the project

Twenty years after Paul Horn released his original Inside the Taj Mahal recording in 1969, one of the most influential albums in establishing the field of contemplative new age music, Horn returned to India determined to commemorate the anniversary of this landmark album with a new digital recording from the Taj Mahal. The first recording session happened almost by accident. By asking a Taj Mahal guard if he could do a little informal recording after hours, Horn created a masterwork of ambient flute improvisations that changed the course of new age music almost overnight. However, in 1989, political tensions in India made the same course impossible. No longer able to slip into the palace unnoticed with flute and tape recorder, Horn had to make a formal appeal to the Prime Minister for permission. After finally gaining an audience with Rajiv Gandhi and obtaining the blessing of the state, Horn still faced a host of logistic difficulties, including equipment malfunctions and finding ways to keep an increasing number of enthusiastic onlookers and roosting birds quiet during the recording. The minute Horn's fluid improvisations began resounding through the perfect acoustics of the Taj Mahal, it was as if a charm had fallen over the palace. From that point on, everyone knew that Inside the Taj Mahal II had been worth all the effort.

The resulting seventeen-piece The Taj Mahal Suite reverberates with some of Horn's most beautiful work to date. Like the original recording, each tone hangs suspended in space for a remarkable twenty-eight seconds, allowing the artist to improvise to the sound of his own echo. Unlike the original session where Horn played only flute, for this project he was equipped with a soprano saxophone, alto and bass flutes, and the Chinese bamboo flute (ti-tze), adding a wealth of tonal color, emotive nuances, and flexibility to his introspective reflections.

the artist

Trained in classical flute, Paul Horn has enjoyed a career that has led him in many musical directions. He has played jazz with Chico Hamilton, performed as a member of the NBC Hollywood Staff Orchestra, coached Tony Curtis for his role as a musician in Some Like It Hot and Wild And Wonderful, appeared in several movies himself, and recorded with his own jazz quintet in the 60s. Although he won two Grammy Awards at that time for his Jazz Suite On The Mass Texts, his increasing dissatisfaction with the Hollywood lifestyle led to studies in meditation with the Indian master, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The experience profoundly affected Horn's life as well as his music. Exploration of new ways to play his instrument, stressing intuition and contemplation over intellectualism and virtuosity, led to the acclaimed Inside series. Traveling around the world, Horn embarked on a musical odyssey, producing recordings in many great acoustic spaces besides the Taj Mahal, including the Great Pyramid of Egypt and the cathedrals of Russia. Open to the richness of music from many different cultures, Horn has recorded a wide range of music, from China (11080) to the classical Western recording, The Peace Album (11083). While searching for new forms of expression, he continues to write highly refined ensemble works and to tour the world from his home base in Victoria, British Columbia.