The universality of tones

Unusual Mix

Prayag, an evening of sweet jazz music and tunes, was held at the Alliance Francaise recently. The performance organised by The Bangalore School of Music, had two sects of music — one performed by Phil Scarff, US saxophonist and Marcus Daniel, a pianist; and the other, Phil playing with Rajeev Devasthali on the tabla.  

The evening started with the contemporary set by Phil and Marcus on the saxophone and the piano — ‘Strivers Row’ by Sunny Rollins, ‘Footprints’ by Wayne Shorter, ‘Black Orpheus’ by Louis Bonfi, ‘Stella by Starlight’ by Victor Young, ‘Blue Monk’ by Thelonious Monk, and St Thomas by Sonny Rollins. Each piece was an experimentation in itself and left the audience amazed and wanting for more with its unique combinations. ‘Untitled’, a piece by Phil Scarff, based on the 20th century Western contemporary music with a 12-tone row, was also performed as a part of the first slot.

The second set was a traditional display of musical notes on the saxophone and the tabla by Phil and Rajeev. Called Raga Puriya Kalyan, it was a long piece that had two sections — Hawana Laagi Saanch set to ektaal and Aaja Morre Ghar Aaye Balma set to teen taal. It kept the audience on the edge of their seats. The other pieces that followed were Dhun, a repertoire of Bismillah Khan, and the evening’s performance concluded with Raga Bhairavi, a piece based on 16 beats, improvised to six beats.

This evening saw different genres of music coming together, and was a unique effort. Commenting on the performance, Asha B, a music connoisseur, said, “I’m thinking that the shehnai must have come after the saxophone since the musical notes heard in the Hindustani style section seemed to perfectly fit the instrument. It was so amazing that one had to remind oneself of the uniqueness of the show, and how the audience experienced two styles of music, in the same night.”

“Music is an evolving experience and the performance we saw here, speaks for itself. The way the saxophone mixed well with  the piano and the tabla shows how universal the instrument is. Also, the coordination the artiste speaks about the quality of the show,” said an excited Harpreet K.

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