Mumbai gets jazzed up

Updated: Apr 30, 2019, 08:46 IST | The Guide Team | Mumbai

Take your pick from three gigs this evening as the city marks International Jazz Day

Rahul Wadhwani
Rahul Wadhwani

Twice as nice

Thanks to a happy coincidence, Ustad Zakir Hussain is the biggest draw at this year's edition of the annual International Jazz Day celebrations at the NCPA. The tabla maestro is usually abroad at this time of the year. But this summer, he is in Mumbai to celebrate the 100th birth anniversary of Ustad Allarakha Khan, and he performed at the Abbaji Festival yesterday, held to mark his legendary father's path-breaking contribution to Indian classical music. Tonight, Hussain will take the stage again — this time with city-bred stalwarts including pianist Louiz Banks and guitarist Sanjay Divecha — and play a set that falls under the genre of jazz fusion.

Neil Banks, the show's producer, tells us, "We'll have a longer slot for him as compared to the other musicians, since a lot of people are coming mainly to watch Zakir Hussain play. So, the second half of the event will mostly have him on stage, and we cut down on two acts just to accommodate that kind of time frame."

Isheeta Chakrvarty
Isheeta Chakrvarty

Banks adds that another distinguishing feature of this year's edition is the inclusion of a bunch of relatively younger musicians. They include Vinay Kaushal, who'll play tracks from a funk jazz album he released recently, and Rahul Wadhwani, who'll perform a short piano set. Then there's Isheeta Chakrvarty and her band — comprising Rohan Ganguli, Clement Rooney, Sambit Chatterjee and Raghuraman Ramasubramanian — who will play an original list of songs that, like Hussain's gig, also fall under the jazz fusion bracket. We ask Chakravarty how she feels about sharing the same stage as the maestro, and she tells us, '"Oh my god!'

That's how I feel. It's of course an honour to be in the same space as him to begin with. But when dreams like this come true, there's also a bit of fear involved, so there's a mix of nervousness and excitement," which, in our books, are understandable emotions given the fact that her band will play right before Hussain takes the NCPA stage a second time in two days, thanks to the fortunate coincidence.

Ustad Zakir Hussain
Ustad Zakir Hussain

Time 7 pm to 10 pm
At National Centre for the Performing Arts, NCPA Marg, Nariman Point.
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Entry Rs 300 onwards

Getting back to the roots

You'll be short-changing yourself if you approach jazz music only through an American prism. Yes, the genre did originate in New Orleans at the turn of the last century. But since then, many influences from across the world have seeped in, making it like a packet of M&Ms where each sweet is a different colour, even though the core flavour is the same. Now, a gig at Lower Parel will showcase some of these styles with a line-up of four acts.

The Many Roots Ensemble performs at a SoBo venue
The Many Roots Ensemble performs at a SoBo venue

The Adil Manuel Collective, for example, will play a jazz fusion set. Ahora Flamenco, on the other hand, will bring a taste of Spain to the proceedings. And while Da Trio will stick to American jazz standards by the likes of Chick Correa and Wayne Shorter, The Many Roots Ensemble will spice things up with a set of originals that — as the band's name suggests — have their roots in a variety of sources such as folk, disco and reggae. "We will also have a bunch of guest artistes performing with us who will add their own original music," informs Subid Khan, the outfit's guitarist.

Time 9.30 pm onwards
At FLEA Bazaar Cafe, first floor, Trade View Building, Oasis Complex, PB Marg, Lower Parel.
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Entry Rs 1,000 with full cover

Let's talk about sax

One of the ways in which a person can view jazz music is to see it as a conversation between different instruments. The drums rattle off something. The guitar adds two bits to that. The saxophone then chimes in with a sensual voice, and so on and so forth. That being the case, an ability to improvise becomes a key quality that the musicians need to possess, given the genre's free-flowing nature.

Rosen Gonsalves
Rosen Gonsalves

And Rosen Gonsalves will display just that at a gig in a Lower Parel restaurant, where the saxophonist will play a completely impromptu set along with guitarist Vernon Misquita.

"I usually perform with just one other person, who is different almost every time. And for this gig, Vernon and I will meet straight at the venue without having practised together," Gonsalves says about a concert that will essentially involve a two-sided conversation between a wind and string instrument.

Time 7 pm onwards
At TYGR, Level 1, Palladium Mall Pedestrian Walkway, Lower Parel.
Call 9136921735 to RSVP (making a reservation at the restaurant is mandatory)

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