Bringing the 'X' into Jazz

Mar 11, 2013, 01:06 IST | Hassan M Kamal

After disbanding at their peak, Fusion Jazz band Tribal Tech is back from a 13-year break with their new album X, and will perform for Mumbai on Wednesday

Back in the 1990s, when the definition of Fusion Jazz was blurring, and the big fusion bands of the last two decades had either split or failed to keep the vibe going, Tribal Tech proved its mettle, minus the saxophone.

Scott Henderson

Co-founded by guitarist Scott Henderson and Gary Willis in 1985, the guitar-key-bass-drum band (along with drummer Kirk Covington and keyboardist Scott Kinsey), rose to popularity in the ’90s. However, they disbanded in 2000 when Rocket Science, their last album as a group, was released.

Now, thirteen years later, the four members of Tribal Tech are back with their new album X, and will perform in India for the first time as a group on March 13 at the St Andrews Auditorium. Henderson, who has been to India before, says the reunion was never planned, “Last year, Gary was in the US to visit his family, so we got together and recorded Tribal Tech X.”

The members picked up from where they had left off, and after 30 jam sessions, it had enough material for an album. “We would go into the studio and jam, with no pre-written music. At the end, we picked our favorite 10 and produced them to be more like actual compositions,” says Scott, adding that he loves this spontaneous way of creating music as it helps retain the interplay that takes place between musicians during the jams.

Unlike other Fusion Jazz bands, Tribal Tech’s music doesn’t include the saxophone. To which, Scott replies, “It never fit in our music style. The first two Tribal Tech albums have saxophone, but we felt it made the music sound too ‘Jazz’; we are definitely not a Jazz group in the traditional sense,” he reasons.

The band rose to popularity in the 1990s when Fusion Jazz was supposedly dead; the only other popular Fusion Jazz band with Rock influences was Chick Corea’s Elektric Band. Speaking about then and now, Henderson says, “It’s a more difficult time now for any musician who wants to make a living by playing music, which is away from the mainstream. Many smaller record labels are going out of business because of the Internet theft of music. It’s harder to make a living than it was in the 1980s and ’90s,” he sums up.

On March 14, 8pm onwards At St Andrews Auditorium, Bandra (W). Call 26410926 Email

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