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Jazz notes from across the border

Little is known about the thriving Jazz music scene in Pakistan. Sachal Jazz Ensemble will give us a glimpse of this talent pool when they perform in Delhi NCR for the NH7 Weekender festival. the guide chats with Izzat Majeed, the band’s
co-arranger and producer

Q. How, according to you, do Classical instruments like the sitar or tabla, lend themselves to Jazz?
A. Classical instruments of any civilisation are very easy to embellish the structure of Jazz. The Classical structure of our music and that of Jazz is close to each other.

Sachal Jazz Ensemble performing with an international groupSachal Jazz Ensemble performing with an international group

Q. After being a part of the Pakistani film industry, how did the idea of starting a Jazz band come
to mind?
A. As an eight-year-old, my father took me to the Dave Brubeck’s Quartet that was passing by Lahore in 1958 (popular Jazz piece by Brubeck, Take Five, had not yet been composed and it shook the Jazz world for the rhythm time of 5/4). Ever since then, I was hooked to Jazz. The first arrangement I made of Take Five along with the Masters of the Sachal Studios was a breeze for them and they were thrilled.

Izzat Majeed
Izzat Majeed

Q. Tell us a bit about the Jazz music scene in Pakistan.
A. The devastation of culture and music during the dictatorship of a decade (1977-88) lost the Ustads; music was on the backburner. The 1990s introduced us to Jazz, which is now getting better thanks to the younger generation.

Q. Have you heard of the works or performed with any Indian Jazz musicians?
A. I’ve heard Ravi Shankar and Ustad Alla Rakha perform in New York.

Q. You’ve performed at various venues; which remains your most memorable concert and why?
A. The most memorable concert was with the Wynton Marsalis and his Jazz band at the Lincoln Center in New York. We had a prior concert with the Wynton Marsalis Quintet at the Marciac Jazz Festival in August in France. The Sachal Jazz Ensemble in New York and the Wynton Marsalis’ Jazz band became one Jazz band, and we all were all given a roaring applause by a full house after our collaborative performance.

On: November 29 at Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida.
Log on to: nh7.in

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