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Jazz, the desi way

In theE 1990s, a band called Silk Route formed by the now famous Mohit Chauhan (lead singer), Atul Mittal (acoustic guitar), Kem Trivedi (keyboard) and Kenny Puri (percussion and drums) added a distinct touch to their music by mixing the traditional classical elements of the tabla with the strings of the bass guitar.

More than 10 years later, Shashi Vyas, director and founder of Jammin with Jazz has tried to recreate the same form of melody by blending in different genres of music.


Shankar Mahadevan

Vyas explains, “Jammin with Jazz was born out of the idea of blending classical with jazz that had been in my mind for a long time. I wanted to create a unique platform where there could be melodic interaction of different kinds of music on stage.”

The concert will include stalwarts like vocalist Shankar Mahadevan, U Sriniwas on the mandolin, kanjeera player V Selvaganesh, keyboardist Louis Banks, drummer Gino Banks, guitarist Sheldon D’Silva and tabalchi Aditya Kalyanpur.


Drummer Gino Banks

So was it difficult getting all the musicians on one platform? Vyas answers, “Not at all. I just had to call Shankar and he agreed to do it. I pitched the idea to other artistes too and they were very excited to be part of it. Musicians just need a platform to perform something unique.”

Drummer Gino Banks considers it sheer luck to share the stage with his dad, Louis Banks and Shankar Mahadevan. “I feel incredible, all the musicians are the best in the world and it is a big honour and privilege for me to share the stage with dad at a public concert.” he says A live concert seldom follows a fixed set of rules and this one is no different. Though there will be some compositions by Louis Banks along with certain songs by Shankar Mahadevan, the song list is still undecided. Banks adds, “It will be all on the spot. The musicians will play individually as well as in an ensemble, taking the audience through different moods and feelings.”


U Srinivas on the mandolin

Though Indian music has always been celebrated in India, the influence of western music cannot be ignored. But Gino Banks suggests that good music is universal. “Just music which sounds good and a performance that is exciting to watch is always appreciated. A person who only listens to Indian classical music may also get interested in western instruments like piano, bass or even drums.

So for instance, when jazz artistes like John Mclaughlin or Allan Holdsworth listen to U Shrinivas’s mandolin tune, they’re bound to enjoy it. Purists may disagree with this but there is room for everything,” he concludes.

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