Behind the jazzmatazz

Behind the jazzmatazz

Behind the jazzmatazz
He is one of the most talented guitarists in India apart from being a much-respected producer and an established jazz musician. Dhruv Ghanekar has composed for a variety of award-winning ad films, Bollywood projects and even made his debut as a producer on ‘Coke Studio’ this year. Both his albums ‘Distance’ (2008) and ‘Voyage’ (2015) have been lapped up by music-lovers too.

Taking the stage in the City this weekend, Dhruv calls Bengaluru a “fantastic cultural centre with a great listening audience”. “Even when I was in college, we always heard about Bengaluru as a City with the best of music and arts,” he says. Ask him what he has in store for the jazz-lovers here and he says, “It’s a mixed bag of old and new tunes — some of my greatest hits as well songs from my latest album ‘Voyage’.”

Though he has composed music for films like ‘Bombay Boys’, ‘Drona’, ‘Snip’ and ‘White Noise’, his work has always been away from the commercial milieu. “It was not a conscious decision. The first project I got was ‘Bombay Boys’, which was the first cult film of those days. Slowly, I started getting offbeat projects and somehow that permeated into my work,” he explains. Today’s Bollywood scores according to him are “sub-standard”. “Apart from the works of a few talented musicians like Amit Trivedi, there is nothing good about it,” he adds.

Unlike many who believe that 90s was a great time for Indi-pop, Dhruv believes that the best time is now. “Those days, one didn’t make much money out of pop music and when you look back at those songs today, most of them were bad. Now internet has become the most popular medium and you don’t need any label to support you. You can just upload everything directly. It all depends on the risk that you are willing to take,” notes the musician whose new album got a phenomenal response online.

The co-founder of popular music venue, blueFROG, Dhruv feels that though there are some well-known music platforms in all the metropolitan cities, most of them don’t know how to programme music. “A venue needs to have a clear idea of what it’s going to play. In the mid 2000s, there were only a few nightclubs that played Bollywood music. That’s why Ashu (business partner Ashutosh Phatak) and I decided to come up with a space that resonated with our sensibilities. I guess our hearts were in the right place and we managed to build a brand.”

Dhruv listens to a lot of indigenous and folk music and his latest favourite is the soundtrack of ‘The Theory of Everything’.

“I also listen to tunes from Romania, Algeria, The Balkans to name a few apart from Carnatic music. Then there is also Hindustani, that I have been trained in.”

Having collaborated with renowned musicians like Ustad Zakir Hussain, AR Rahman, Louis Banks and Ranjit Barot, a musician that he would love to work with is Mandolin U Srinivas. “He is the greatest string instrumentalist in the world and I listen to his music everyday,” he says.

The artiste will be performing in the City as part of ‘Jazz In The Garden’ on November 8 at VR Bengaluru, Whitefield Road. He will be playing as part of a quartet with ​Gino Banks, Sheldon D’Silva and Karan Joseph. He will also be playing here in December at ‘NH7 Weekender’.

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