Popular Beatles hits to get a jazzy twist

Jun 30, 2016, 08:16 IST | Hassan M Kamal

Flautist Rajeev Raja and seven talented musicians will present Jazz-infused renditions of tracks by The Beatles to popularise the genre. Excerpts from an interview

Q. For tomorrow's performance, you will be offering a selection of The Beatles' songs with a Jazz edge. Why the Jazz slant?
A. The idea behind the show, The Beatles: Jazzified, is to popularise Jazz as a musical form. If we take music that's familiar to the ordinary person and then Jazz-ify it, it becomes more comprehensible. People are already familiar with these tunes; besides, when we treat it with Jazz, people are able to gauge the elements of Jazz. There are lots of Jazz concerts, but it always had a niche audience. To popularise Jazz you need to go beyond the regular audience who attend Jazz gigs i.e. Jazz fans. You need to make it mainstream, and one of the ways to do it, we felt, is to take the music of a popular band and Jazz-ify it. They may not be necessarily Jazz fans, but fan of The Beatles may come to concert out of curiosity to know how The Beatles tunes can be treated differently. Even for Jazz fans, it will be interesting to know how a popular band is treated with Jazz notes.

Flautist Rajeev Raja
Flautist Rajeev Raja

Q. How do you plan to achieve this? Will we see solo acts too?

A. Jazz is essentially about improvisation, and therfore, all the elements of Jazz will be displayed using Beatles tunes. So, we will play Beatles' melodies, and besides, will be weaving complex harmonies to accompany the melody. The spotlight will be on each musician in the band via cameos where each musician will play different kinds of combinations. There could be solos, duets, a few quartets as well as the entire band performing together like a Big Band. Each musician's improvisation skills will be on display.

Q. Why pick the Beatles? Will you be signing the songs as well?
A. The Beatles is a band with timeless music that pans generations. They are popular, have meaningful lyrics, and play complex music that comes out simply. We chose The Beatles to express their songs using the idiom of Jazz. There won't be any vocals.

Q. You've tied up with some talented musicians. Tell us about the group dynamics during such jamming sessions.
A. We are all friends. We have played together on numerous occasions. There's a level of comfort. And it's always great to play with musicians of such high calibre. But there is one more member in the group. He is a surprise guest who will be revealed at the concert.

ON July 2, 7.30 pm
AT Tata Theatre, NCPA, Nariman Point.
CALL 66223737
ENTRY Rs 300 onwards

What to expect

Rajeev Raja and the band will play around 15 songs that explore various aspects of Jazz. So you can expect popular Beatles songs like Can’t Buy Me Love in a Big Band Swing style, Let It Be with a Reggae edge, Something in a Latin Bossa (a type of Braziliandance music) vibe, and A Hard Day’s Night with a Motown slant

Who will play?

A guitarist par excellence, Sanjay Divecha is  a fantastic Jazz musician as well. He is also an indie artist on his own right.
- Sanjay Divecha (guitar)


He has lived in the USA and is a very accomplished saxophone player. He was here in season, so, we were lucky to get him.
- Carl Clements (saxophone)


Karl Peters is legendary on the base. He is one of the greatest bass players that ever was and is.
- Karl Peters (bass)


ANURAG NAIDUAndrew kanga is a young, very promising drummer with a fantastic grip on the Jazz genre.
- Andrew Kanga (drums)


Ramon plays the trombone, which is a very rare instrument and lends a whole new layer to the setup.
- Ramon Ibrahim (trombone)


Anurag Naidu is a very good piano and keyboard player. He has also arranged a lot of the tunes.
- Anurag Naidu (piano/keyboard)

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