A classical journey

Aug 06, 2018, 07:01 IST | The Guide Team

Attend a gig featuring a pianist who started off with western classical, but now plays jazz

A classical journey
Anurag Naidu

The magical thing about western classical music is that someone, say Beethoven, composed it centuries ago, and people have been playing that same piece, note for note ever since then. The idea is to not mess with perfection. "You are simply the vehicle for the music," says Anurag Naidu, who'll play a gig with his eponymous trio at The Little Door on Tuesday.

Naidu's initiation into music began with Hindustani classical thanks to his father when he was about four. But then, he heard the western piano soon after, and he's been hooked since then. "Its polyrhythmic structure — the idea of multiple notes playing simultaneously — intrigued me," he tells us, adding that he was also drawn to its methodical nature, where you go through the rigour of perfecting every key as it was originally played.

Then, in his teens, he heard jazz. And a new chapter opened up in his musical education. "I remember first listening to an album by [the late American jazz great] Scott Joplin and then hearing Hearl Hines
doing a more complex version of one of his tracks. It had many different melodies. But the whole composition sounded unified. And I thought, 'What if I want to play music where I can have my own interpretation of a song, and yet hold on to the integrity of the original version?'" he says.

Exploring that question has now led him to adopting jazz as the genre for his trio, which has Aron Nyiro, a Hungarian drummer; and Marius Menelaou, a bassist from Cyprus. But at the same time, Naidu feels that it's unfair to say that people care less and less about classical music in today's day and age. "You have to go back to its history," he says. "It was meant for both, the emperor and the poor, and from there it went to being the common man's music. So, I think it's a generalisation to say that people don't listen to it anymore because of an economic thing."

ON August 7, 9 pm
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