The pandemic days are gone and music events are back. The highly anticipated World Jazz Festival, helmed by Banyan Tree, brings to Mumbai a fine medley of renowned artists of the genre.
From teens to hard core jazz fans, there will be something for every lover of the genre at the festival. Easy listening, funk, jazz-rock, ballads, fusion including Indian jazz Hindustani music inputs in a jazz format, vocal and swing to bebop and the big band sound, it will all be there.
American vocalist Deborah Carter is one of the most dynamic vocalists in the jazz scene. She has visited India before and has had a wonderful adventure discovering new things, making new friends and having “nice memories (and souvenirs) to bring home”. “Going to India is never just a trip, it's a multisensory experience,” she recalls in an email interview.
Carter has been influenced by, “Al Jarreau (the first one), Natalie Cole, Nancy Wilson, and Ella Fitzgerald,” as per her own admittance. Carter, who sings with The Round Midnight (a song by Thelonious Monk after which the band is named) Orchestra back home, will be seen with Dutch tenor saxophone player Ben Van Den Dungen Quartet. Dungen is not a new name to Indian jazz enthusiasts, having visited the country for shows and as the one who blends jazz music with Indian influences. “A couple of years ago, I studied Indian classical music. Sometimes it is nice to experiment with the crossover between jazz and Indian music, especially the improvisation techniques. For this show, I am playing a jazz program and not a crossover program. 100 % pure jazz with some elements of the music of New Orleans,” states Dungenn, who has long associations with the music scene in India having studied classical music under Dhanashree Pandit Rai for a couple of years. He’s glad to be back and play again. Speaking about his last visit in June 2019, he says it was just “great”, while adding, “The vibe, atmosphere, people, food and of course the music. I am happy to be back again.”
Among the other performers is singer and bass player Nathalie Schaap who provides an intimate unique improvisational blend between what she calls her two instruments, “my voice and my bass”. Schaap will be playing with the Alexander Beets Quintet and is excited about her first visit to the country and says she will bring a combination of different styles, mainly jazz, which is also inspired by folk music. Tenor powerhouse Alexander Beets has garnered international acclaim with his explosive sound and undeniable swing over the last few decades. Aside from performing with his own quintet, he will also be performing with vocalists Paul van Kessel and Nathalie Schaap. As a jazz – saxophone player, Beets has been nicknamed ‘The Hurricane’ that comes from his explosive and expressive playing. With over 2000 concerts to date, India, he says, is on his touring map and is one of his favorite performance country.
“The Indian people are very appreciative about jazz and improvised music in any form. I have toured India with Saskia Laroo in 2019 and the enthusiasm for international jazz music was heartwarming. India is hard to explain to people who have never been there. The variety in people, colors, taste, smells is overwhelming every time I visit.” He appreciates the work by Banyan Tree in supporting jazz in India. “Banyan Tree is a strong international Indian partner to realize collaborations to connect traditional India’s improvised music with European and World Jazz. Although the structure, theory, instruments and sound is completely different the two musical worlds, they blend in perfectly.”
The ‘lady jazz’ trumpet player Saskia Laroo, who on her last visit played a lively set of jazz-rock, hip-hop is one of the attractions this year as well. Expect some hard hitting Jazz meets Hip Hop once again from this talented musician who is labeled ‘Lady Miles’ because of her style of trumpet play.
The roster of artists also includes Cape Town singer songwriter and vocal coach Jodie Fredericks Quartet featuring Bas Toscani (Cornet), R. Prasanna, (better known as Guitar Prasanna), a pioneer in performing Carnatic music on the guitar.
Venue: St. Andrew’s Auditorium, Bandra (W), Mumbai
When: June 4 (Day 1) and June 5 (Day 2); Time: 7 pm
Day 1: Artists: Prasanna, Jodi Fredericks Quartet featuring Bas Toscani and Ellister van der Moolen, Ben van den Dungen Quartet featuring Deborah Carter
Day 2: Artists: Alexander Beets Quintet featuring Paul van Kessel and Nathalie Schaap, Saskia Laroo Band — Jazz meets Hip-Hop
Event: Jazz for Kids
Time: 11 am to 12 noon
Artists: Bas Toscani, Deborah Carter and Ben van den Dungen
Call to register for this free concert: 9323930139 or 9324143597
Tickets available on bookmyshow.com