To revive the love for Jazz among Mumbaiites, Jazz Addicts, a community of Jazz enthusiasts founded by Sunil Sampat and Pradip Bhatia, has organised Jus’ Jazz — a three-day festival that will feature some of the cream of international Jazz musicians.
“We wish to revive the Jazz culture in the city, which was an inherent part of Mumbai in the 1970s and ’80s. That time there was a lot of support by the US government and many American Jazz musicians used to come down to perform. But it’s not the same anymore. There is a dearth of good Jazz musicians coming to India. We are trying to change that and the first step towards that is this festival,” says Sampat.
Jus’ Jazz will feature five American and one Russian band. New York guitarist Russell Malone, who has played with Harry Connick Jr and Diana Krall, will perform with his band while Jazz and Blues vocalist Diane Witherspoon arrives with her trio. American pianist Helen Sung, who has previously toured India with the Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz, will be featured with her quartet and drum maestro Lewis Nash.
A band from New Orleans will also bring traditional Jazz to the festival along with Sylvia Cuenca, a New York-based drummer whose swinging young band will round off an exciting array of live acts. “Jazz is a passion, and so we have brought down some of the best musicians of the genre. The interesting part is that of the six international Jazz bands, three are women-led,” shares Sampat.
Sampat and Bhatia wish to give this festival more impetus and have plans for that. This time, the festival is a two-city event (Delhi being the second city), but eventually, the organisers wish to extend it to other cities too. This apart, Jazz Addicts want Jus’ Jazz to become an annual festival. They also plan to have Jazz evenings every two-three months, where Jazz enthusiasts can come and enjoy the music. Since organising a single evening involves less money and effort, the organisers are keen to focus on this plan. “We are also planning to irganise tribute to a Jazz master every few months where we will bring down the Jazz master for the show,” reveals Sampat.
From November 3 to 5
At Jamshed Bhabha Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point
“This is my third time in India. Earlier, I came in 1996 and then in 2007, but this is the first time that I’m coming with my own band, so I’m very excited to be here. This time I’ll be performing with my quartet that consists of piano, bass, drums and saxophone. With our performance, we will bring out our music, which is firmly rooted in traditional Jazz but at the same time is forward,” says Helen Sung, featured pianist at the festival.