The late Ustad Mohammad Omar was Afghanistan's most legendary musician, a virtuoso on the rabab (a plucked lute that's the ancestor of India's sarod). This disc may well be the only document of his music readily available to Western audiences - it’s a recording of the only concert he played in the U.S. while he was a teacher at the University of Washington in Seattle in 1974. The rabab has a sound like a cross between an oud [ud] and a dulcimer, and U.M.O. plays it with an improvisational flair that is both spiritually meditative and viscerally riveting. U.M.O. proves himself a fine improviser throughout - in fact, he’d never played with sole accompanist for this concert, tabla wizard Zakir Hussain, before that day’s performances. While not the best place to begin for neophytes, those already smitten with the sounds of Indian/Pakistani/Afghani classical music should list this ‘un in their "essential" column on their shopping list.