An evening of jazz and rain

Fusion music

In the midst of the intermittent rains that crippled traffic and exhausted Delhizens over the weekend, Rajeev Raja (flautist) and group’s jazz performance elevated the mood and used the weather to their advantage. The music-filled evening, ‘History of Jazz’ at the QLA in Mehrauli, uplifted the mood as musical notes refilled the air inside the play house and also outside, with renewed enthusiasm.

The most interesting part of the evening was that it introduced the audience to the history of jazz music through a live concert-cum-presentation with the section aptly named as “A Trip Up Memory Lane from the Origins of Jazz to now - 1890-2000’s.”
Raja narrated the history of jazz from the time it was an African slave’s way of dedicating a gospel to God in South America, to the time when Louis Armstrong observed it.

After each phase of development in Raja’s tale, the group played fusion jazz for the understanding of that particular historical chapter. Each artiste in the group had his own forte, but fusion music is what remained common to all members. Mostly instrumental, gospels, blues, swing, ragtime, and many other styles of jazz were introduced to the audience by the flautist. 

Raja has his own band, ‘Rajeev Raja Combine’, but at this event he was accompanied by several individual artists, namely Karan Joseph (on piano), Karl Peters (on bass), Sanjay Divecha (guitar), Shirish Malhotra (saxophone) and Benny Soans (on drums). They all have a credible musical background behind and have contributed to films and music programmes like Coke Studio India and MTV Unplugged.

Raja has played music with a host of musicians, including Shankar Mahadevan, Taufiq Quereshi, Fazal Quereshi, Ehsaan Noorani, Loy Mendonsa and Leslie Lewis, to name a few. Peters has devoted a lot of time with the band ‘Silk’ which was led by Louis Banks. Malhotra has appeared in Satyameva Jayate and Coke Studio India and MTV Unplugged videos with Ram Sampath, Amit Trivedi, Sachin Jigar, making him the most familiar face among the band. Divecha and Joseph are products of Guitar Institute of Technology (Musician’s Institute; M.I) in Los Angeles and Berklee College of  Music respectively.

The audience shared slivers of excitement with each other as each song ended. There was no demand for an encore but a cumulative sadness was felt when the show was near its end.


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