Jazz by the bay

Four artists — Grammy award-winning saxophonist Bill Evans, Indian drumming genius Ranjit Barot, bass player Etienne Mbappe and guitarist Marc Guillermont — will perform together for the first time this week at Jazz@NCPA, a music concert.

Bill Evans

My first question to Barot about rehearsals was received with much surprise. “Rehearsals?” he asked. “We haven’t done any,” says Barot, as a matter-of-factly. The group will perform Snap Dragon and Sweet Tea, (composed by Evans), and Tempest and Origin by Barot, who has individually worked with the players. “We were meaning to get together for a long time, and I am really looking forward to this gig,” adds Barot.

Ranjit Barot 

Conversing with music The rehearsal will happen in Delhi, a sort of session with the artistes. “What can go wrong?” Barot questions, when asked how four distinct artistes will perform without much rehearsals. “Music is a conversation, just like how we speak — sometimes loud, sometimes soft, resembling your thoughts. At this professional level, nothing can go wrong,” he asserts. Each composer will ensure the musician is interpreting right, a little tweaking here and there, along with fine turning, he explains.

For Evans, who was always interested in playing in India, it is his first tour in the country. “I love Ranjit’s energy. The audience can look forward to a blend of different styles and sounds, just like creating a landscape painting for the very first time. It will be a mixing of cultures as we are from the US, Africa and India. The energy will be high,” says Evans, who has explored traditional jazz, including rock, hip-hop, jam, fusion, reggae, Brazilian and slamming funk through his career as a solo artiste. He received two Grammy nominations for Soul Insider (2002) and Soulgrass (2006).

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