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Mumbai gets jazzed up

Published : Apr 26, 2016, 10:50 pm IST
Updated : Apr 26, 2016, 10:50 pm IST

On International Jazz Day, the city is celebrating the world of jazz music with some of the finest musicians from the past and some of the brightest of the future.

Gino Banks
 Gino Banks

On International Jazz Day, the city is celebrating the world of jazz music with some of the finest musicians from the past and some of the brightest of the future.

Mumbai’s tryst with jazz music began in the year 1935, when a violinist from Minnesota, Leon Abbey, brought his “all Black” jazz band to the port city. The decades that followed saw jazz become an integral part of the city and its lifestyle. Bollywood followed suit, and incorporated jazz in its music as well. The rest as they say, “is history”, which you will find in Naresh Fernandes’ legendary Taj Mahal Foxtrot — a book that every Bombay/Mumbai jazz lover swears by.

On International Jazz Day, legendary jazz musician Louiz Banks will take centrestage and bring out the best of jazz. He will be accompanied with a line-up of stalwarts such as Gary Lawyer, Dhruv Ghanekar, Sheldon D’Silva, Karl Peters and many more. Apart from the popular names, emerging artists will be spearheading the fourth edition of the jazz festival at blueFROG.

Speaking about the younger generation of music lovers, Louiz says, “Usually people are under the misconception that jazz in only for the old lot. But that’s not the case now. The jazz that I am bringing is for everyone including the youth. jazz celebrates and symbolises the spirit of freedom and can interact, blend and merge with all genres and cultures. And today’s young musicians are a proof of that.”

Arunav Deka, who will be performing with The Louiz Banks Matrixx Trio, is not a conventional jazz musician. Even though he is a rapper, he loves the genre and is interested in “bridging the different shades of music”.

“Four years ago, I had stopped performing because I felt that I didn’t have enough stories to tell and I didn’t want to be a rapper just for the heck of it. Now I think I have things to share and I am extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to share the stage with some of the best musicians in the country,” says the 21-year-old rapper from Assam.

For Vinay Kaushal, it is the harmonic content of jazz that appeals to him the most. “It is something that is very complicated and therefore anyone who knows how to play jazz well, can play pretty much anything else,” he explains. An alumnus of the prestigious Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, Vinay says he was never been drawn to the electronic music. “Although I do find sonic textures quite interesting, electronic music, in its isolation, never really attracted me. So if someone is playing a saxophone over an EDM track I am okay with it,” he explains. Talking more about the event, Vinay adds, “This is going to be like a carnival for the jazz lovers. Not only do we have some of the best jazz musicians from our country, we also get to listen to some jazz vocal, which is very rare, and also from some progressive and experimental work as well. I’m glad to return to the festival for the third time.”

The fourth edition of the festival will see more than 30 artistes enthralling the audience. “International jazz day is close to blueFROG’s heart. It’s a day all about the music, the musicians and guests are like a family now,” says Ruchika Tiku, the programming head of the city joint.

On April 30, 7.30 pm onwards, At blueFROG, Mathuradas Mill Compund, Lower Parel.