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Three-day jazz festival opens Friday

Organised by The Bangalore School of Music (BSM), the event will see performances by 14 local bands, covering traditional, contemporary and experimental jazz and American jazz standards.
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 03:47 IST
Last Updated : 24 April 2024, 03:47 IST

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Rashmi Rajagopal

Bengaluru’s jazz musicians will come together this weekend to celebrate International Jazz Day with a specially curated three-day festival. 

Organised by The Bangalore School of Music (BSM), the event will see performances by 14 local bands, covering traditional, contemporary and experimental jazz and American jazz standards. 

“Jazz was introduced in India over 70 years ago. In Bengaluru, the genre has been growing in popularity in the last three to four years, especially with the younger crowd,” says M R Jagadeesh, director of BSM and founder of jazz band MoonArra. 

The first International Jazz Day, declared by UNESCO, was held on April 30, 2011. BSM, led by Jagadeesh, has been curating Jazz Day concerts for the last four years. 

For the first day of the festival, the lineup includes bands such as Deep Blue Brass, Pockets and Changes Trio and August Quartet. On the second day, Gerard Machado Network, The Jazz Revival Band, MoonArra and Radha Thomas Ensemble among others will take the stage. 

The Jazz Revival Band, an eight-member outfit, is the “only South Indian band with a full wind section (trombone, saxophone and trumpet) in addition to two guitars, drums and keyboards,” says Thomas Chandy, who started the band 24 years ago. At the festival they will perform 11-12 compositions by artistes like pianist Duke Ellington, saxophonist Sonny Rollins and drummer Art Blakey. 

Jazz guitarist Gerard Machado shares that his band’s setlist includes instrumental jazz standards arranged by himself, in addition to popular tracks like ‘The way you look tonight’ by Nat King Cole. The group’s sound is a mix of bebop jazz, blues, funk and Latin grooves.

Another highlight of the second day is a solo performance by Sunil better known as Drums Sunil. Sunil, who is trained in mridangam and ghatam, switched to jazz percussion four years ago. He is best known for working on the background score of films like ‘KGF1’ and ‘Dhamaka’. The artiste will play Afro-Cuban and Latin percussion instruments which include the conga, bongo, timbale, left foot clave and cajon. The hybrid setup will also include cymbals.

“In India, instruments like the conga are not considered integral to jazz. But that is not the case worldwide. As jazz is largely about improvisation, percussion instruments are very essential to the genre,” Sunil explains.

The festival concludes on April 30, the third day, with an event titled ‘Musical conversation — Indian classical and jazz’. Presented by MoonArra and slide guitarist Prakash Sontakke, the show will see the artistes performing music and also holding conversations on the subject.  

April 27-30. Across multiple venues. For details, call 4128 5017 

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Published 24 April 2024, 03:47 IST

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