Play it again, piano man

Jun 19, 2013, 05:15 IST | Kanika Sharma

Bangalore-born pianist and composer Sharik Hasan will perform today with a New York trio; amongst whom select have captivated audiences at Carnegie Hall, as Grammy night ensembles and much more

Nothing can sass up a woefully wet evening other than Jazz. Sharik Hasan, a homegrown musician but a globetrotter by training, will be performing this evening along with a trio that includes New York saxophonist Adam Larson, Philippe Lemm (drums) and Raviv Markovitz (double bass).

Sharik Hasan (second from left) with the New York-based trio: drummer Philippe Lemm (extreme left), saxophonist Adam Larson (third from left) and on double bass Raviv Markovitz (right)

Pianist and composer Hasan shares, “We’ll be playing many of my original compositions that have not been performed to an audience, till now. At the same time, there’ll be several recognisable numbers from the Jazz repertoire”.

Jazz comes of age
The Jazz Age of the city might have some hope as Hasan comments on how the city had to be a place to perform. If you are one of those who feel all is at its wane, Hasan shares otherwise, “I feel there are more and more young people who are taking up Jazz.” Butting in we dismally relate the Justin Beibers popping on roads with their neon cars.

Sharik Hasan, pianist and composer

“I understand what you’re saying”, he reassures, continuing, “18, 19 or 20-year-olds are playing well and learning whatever they can lay their hands on due to their interest”. Factoring in, he speaks of the ready availability of “stuff on the Internet.”

He also relates, “There is a new kind of exception about what’s professionally acceptable. People are opening up about what all you can do generating a new influx of musicians.”

Lastly, he feels that with many qualitative schools of music springing on the scene in various cities, people have access to substantial training nowadays.

Education could not have agreed more with the 28-year-old musician who naturally took to the instrument at the age of five. Hasan has studied at: Royal School of Music in London, Bill Evan Piano Academy in Paris, and United States’ Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music (Ohio), Boston’s Berklee College ofMusic and currently, Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Young blood
It just doesn’t hold together when you hear that the young pianist at the age of 16 was ready to give up on all of this altogether. “When I was fifteen, learning piano was one of my many hobbies. I learnt to play the sitar as well”, he adds. “The teachers tore up the fun for me. I was a bad student and never practised”. Hasan found his feet after doing Bachelors in Literature and Mathematics.

He took some time off college and performed in Bangalore, his birth city where gigs became a regular feature of life. Once the gates were unbarred, Hasan went onto bleed for music, in actuality. “I was playing in Pune in 2009 at a concert. I was getting so into music, maybe I went wild on the keys or was slamming my fists that after some time, I noticed blood on the keys. It was only at the intermission that I tended to my bleeding fingers.”

The euphoric artiste is also, a secretive gatecrasher of concerts. “Dave Brubeck was playing and we just slipped into the greenroom pretending to be sound engineers. I have no shame. I was absolutely hungry and it was the biggest name that I knew at that point,” Hasan avers. “Now, I have become docile after getting old,” a sheepish afterthought by the artiste.

Beats from Down Under
He is Australia’s pride when it comes to drumming. Known for his passion, Ben Walsh has travelled all over the world honing his percussion skills, performing in front of varied audiences and collaborated with groups such as The Bird, Circle of Rhythm, Dha, The Tom Tom Crew, Pablo Percusso and several more.

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