Kolkata's Jazzfest 2018 kicks off on 30 November; to feature nine bands from across the globe
This year, Jazzfest will see nine bands from seven countries take to the stage and electrify an otherwise nippy atmosphere during winters in Kolkata
It has almost become a custom of sorts for the City of Joy to begin preparations for its annual jazz festival as the year-end approaches. Jazzfest 2018 is all set to kick start from 30 November at the Dalhousie Institute, one of Kolkata's colonial heritage buildings. Known for its club culture ever since the British era, the Institute also celebrates 150 years of its existence as Kolkata's hub for literary and culture amusement this year.
Jazzfest 2018 — scheduled from 30 November to 2 December — will see nine bands from seven countries take to the stage and electrify an otherwise nippy atmosphere during winters in Kolkata. Varun Desai, who heads the event management company Littlei, which has been organising the festival since the last five years, says, "I'm proud that we have India's biggest and longest running International Jazz lineup in Kolkata this year. This city has not had many recent wins especially considering the faster growth of entertainment in other cities, so putting on this festival is very important to us. Organising Jazzfest is a process that starts 8-10 months in advance so we're all waiting in anticipation to see it all come together."
Day 1 (30 November) of this year's fest will feature performances by the United States band MND FLO along with two French bands, Ozma and Supergombo.
The inception of MND FLO began with the coming together of pianist Sharik Hasan, bassist Alexander LJ Tóth, and drummer Anthony A Tóth. The trio originally met in Boston, while studying at the Berklee College of Music. Later, vibraphonist, Simon Moullier entered the band and formed the quartet. Despite joining the trio a bit later, Moullier immediately found himself creatively exploring with other members of the band. “Again, it was that instant connection. We really feel like he added his own unique voice, and that extra layer to the music that took it to a new level”. Hailing from vastly different parts of the world including India, France, Trinidad, Hungary, and Canada, MND FLO has found a never-ending pool of inspiration to draw from within this diversity. “To us, one of the most beautiful things about creating music is digging into those roots and incorporating elements of your own culture within the music.”
Ozma was founded in 2001 and is a sort of UFO in the jazz world where projects are created and undone as encounters happen… Think of Rage Against the Machine featuring Coltrane, Ray Anderson jamming with Radiohead or Bill Frisell sitting in with the best New Orleans brass bands. The improbable is the essence of Ozma; a generous, creative and joyous mixture, exciting and adventurous, risky and captivating, as much for the wise connoisseur as for the curious neophyte.
Supergombo is an new offshoot of the blend of cultures in France whose afro-funk sounds are a cross between Senegalese mbalax, Congolese soukouss and funk. Their music is somewhere between Fela Kuti and Hugh Masekela – the music Maceo Parker would probably play if he knew the Mediterranean better. It’s not “world music,” though since all music is global these days. But Supergombo’s frenzied, uncontrolled rhythms come from Montreuil as well as Ouagadougou, with a stopover in la Guillotière – that lively Lyon neighbourhood where the cultural mix also stands for an equal opportunity for all… to dance.
On day 2 (1 December), the stage of Jazzfest will host Adrien Brandies Quintet from France, The Rohan Ganguli Ensemble from India and Klein from Luxembourg.
Pianist Adrien Brandeis began his musical career with guitarist Guy Zenouda in 2010. He learned about jazz and Latin music from Philippe Cocogne at the conservatory in Cagnes sur mer. Four years later he continued his studies in the jazz department of national 'Pierre Cochereau' Conservatory in Nice, with Robert Persi (jazz piano) and Pierre Bertrand (arranging). Since 2017, he has been based in Paris and has released his first album, Euforia, with his quintet. He met some great musicians like Felix Toca Ibanez, Yoann Danier and Orlando Poleo and plays his album with them in concert. He has several pianistic influences: from Ruben Gonzalez to Brad Meldhau, passing by Michel Camilo, Chick Corea, Osmany Paredes Rebeca Mauleon, Jon Lord, Red Garland, Wynton Kelly, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans.
The Rohan Ganguli Ensemble is a collection of some of the finest musicians from the city with one member joining in from the capital, New Delhi. The music is composed by Rohan Ganguli. The line-up has a solid chemistry as all the musicians have played with each other in different musical settings over many years. The sound can be best described as ‘Modern Jazz’. The music is a celebration of the beautiful city of Kolkata.
In his new project, Jerome Klein works on an array of contrasts in a minimalist setting, slipping into a misty mood of melancholy and dark tones. In this almost pure setting, his music surprises with loud splinters of light, the explosion of energy and even frenetic extasy when the musicians let their passion take over.
The third and last day (2 December) of the jazz festival will have the German band Tubes & Wires, United Kingdoms' WorldService Project, and Gauthier Toux Trio from Switzerland and France.
Niels Klein has been challenging conventional genre boundaries for years. His interest in music and sound is much too widely spread, for him to limit himself. Based in Cologne, he has made a name for himself as a composer and leader of various formations.
With the second album of Tubes and Wires, Niels Klein demonstrates his sense for extraordinary concepts. The dazzling fusion of woodwinds and electronics, the mix of atmospheric, elaborate band sound and gripping improvisations amounts to self-willed and likewise entertaining Sci-Fi-Jazz.
A rising figure on the French, Swiss and European jazz scene, the trio lead by promising French pianist Gauthier Toux has developed a unique jazz sound, complex and lyrical, blended with many influences ranging from pop to hip-hop. The trio has performed more than 100 concerts since it was created in October 2013 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Their third release The Colours You See was released on UK label Naim Records on 4 May 2018.
WorldService Project are the leading specialists of British ‘punk-jazz’, and one of the most exported live acts in their field. Their energetic live shows have taken them to festivals across the world (to tour in 18 countries), and releasing three highly-acclaimed studio albums.
This spring, WorldService Project launched their highly anticipated fourth album Serve on RareNoise Records. Fresh off the back of mammoth tours across America, Europe, Japan, India and China, the epic and anthemic live sound of the band is both thrilling and heart-wrenching, with a theatrical live performance thrown in for good measure making them one of the finest live acts in Europe.
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