If the lineup of artists at the first-ever NCPA Jazzmatazz, the annual festival, is anything to go by, Mumbai might just be able to reclaim its position as the Jazz Mecca of India
He takes a long pause to ponder over the question what's the one performance you absolutely should not miss at NCPA Jazzmatazz?
"Oh, but we've planned the festival in such a way that everyday there are a couple of really good acts that one just can't miss," says Romit Chaterjee, a member of the NCPA Jazz Committee.
Cedar Walton Trio
As he goes on to tell us about the various Indian and international artists who will participate in the first-ever Jazz festival organised by NCPA, Jazzmatazz, Chaterjee's excitement is palpable.
In Fine Tune
From talking about the "incredible trumpeter" Jon Faddis and Cedar Walton, "one of the most respected Jazz musicians around today", Chaterjee jumps to Carlton Kitto, "the great Indian musician, who has had a film made on him." Chaterjee sounds like a child who has been given a giant box of truffles and he can't decide which one to bite into first.
"We have Steve Turre, the 'Shell Man', who also plays the shells (or conch, as we know it), besides being an accomplished trombonist. He has been polled as the best artist by DownBeat (a Jazz magazine) for ten years in succession. Can you imagine listening to a guy like that?" he asks, mesmerised by names of artists who will play at Jazzmatazz.
Not so easy
Helping bring the Jazz scene back to Mumbai wasn't easy, Chaterjee admits on a serious note.
Since the time when places like Jazz By The Bay and festivals such as Jazz Yatra flourished in the 1980s and 90s, there was a sudden vacuum at the turn of the century. NCPA hopes to fill this space by making Jazzmatazz an annual feature.
Planning the festival took nine months and involved getting in touch with hundreds of artists from India and abroad. "We looked at everybody on our wish list and contacted a number of people before we were able to finalise the schedule for the event," Chaterjee says.
Grab your tickets for the festival. It's not often that one gets to be in the same room with the big guns of Jazz.