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Delhi's Jazz scene is more than just sax and violins

Double bass, saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, trombone and vocals... Delhi's been tripping on Jazz. With festivals, gigs and jazz evening across the city, the scene just seems to be getting stronger among both, the young and the old. On International Jazz Day, HT spoke to three specialists and what they think of Delhi's love for jazz.

music Updated: Apr 30, 2015 16:58 IST
Jazz

With-festivals-gigs-and-dedicated-Jazz-evenings-across-the-city-Dilliwalas-are-warming-up-to-Jazz

Double bass, saxophone, trumpet, clarinet, trombone and vocals... Delhi's been tripping on this and more Jazz. What originated in the late 19th century thanks to African-American communities, it's one of the most popular genres worldwide and has been playing big on the hearts of Dilliwalas, too. With festivals, gigs and dedicated jazz evening across the city, the scene just seems to be getting stronger among both, the young and the old. On International Jazz Day, HT spoke to three specialists and what they think of Delhi's love for jazz.

Stefan Kaye, Keyboard and vocals



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Jazz in Delhi is still a lot about ignorant pretense, says Stefan Kaye of Jazz B'stards and The Ska Vengers.

"Although the genre itself has seen a rise, most events or gigs which book a Jazz band for them hardly have Jazz aficionados or people who even understand the genre. Jazz has become a symbol of sophistication and class, and I have seen people ask for a Jazz band for a wedding or a corporate function and they have no idea what kind of Jazz they would prefer," says Kaye. He says there's a certain seriousness that could be keeping the Capital from embracing the genre uninhibitedly: "There is enough seriousness and academia associated with jazz, and I feel that can be a little bit of a put-off for youngsters who are not musicians. I say this at the risk of alienating the Jazz fraternity but that's how I feel."

Tarun Balani, Drummer and composer



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Balani feels that a music scene and a circuit have to be created and cultivated with care and dedication. "Although the Jazz scene in New Delhi is at its infancy stage, the number of concerts, workshops and festivals that happen here is a testimony to the fact that Jazz music is alive and kicking in the Capital," says Balani, who has been an active part of the Jazz scene in the Capital since 2011. He feels that what has really contributed to the growth of this genre is the passion and love of various artistes that make the scene more inclusive, and the young audiences who have started to understand and appreciate this type of music better. "Apart from my performance career, I am actively involved in music education through the Global Music Institute, where we have a dedicated jazz performance program taught by some of the most talented young Jazz artistes from across the globe. We also have weekly jam sessions and free concerts at our basement theatre," says Balani. Rishie Raaj Sachdeva, Guitarist



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After playing jazz for almost 15 years in Australia, when 41-year-old Rishie moved to Delhi in 2009, he was not impressed with the jazz scene in Delhi. Even while setting up his jazz band, Syncopation, he did not really know where it would go, but it was when he met other like-minded artistes who wanted to play purely for passion and not for money, that he started his journey. "I've seen a drastic change in the Jazz scenario in the Capital since 2009. It is moving to the younger generation, and concerts that once saw just 20 people now see crowds of 200. Jazz is growing in the city and it is the love and appreciation of the audiences that has made this a possibility, it really pushes artistes like us to work and experiment with the genre," says Sachdeva, adding, "Our music is not old school but upbeat, and maybe that is what works best with our audiences."