Spirit of fusion descends on jazz lovers

  • Jonathan Vikram Pradhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 25, 2015 08:43 IST

Long-drawn Sarangi notes, punctuated by the tinkling of a piano and a plucky tabla, all ringing in harmony, brought down the curtains on the fifth edition of the Delhi International Jazz Festival at the Nehru Park on Sunday.

In a way, the final performance symbolised the fusion that has come to characterise the festival that has been a favourite with Delhi’s jazz aficionados, who are often starved of live performances. Pianist Norbert Kael was all by himself on stage after a delayed flight meant that his Hungarian band could not reach the venue on time. Sarangi maestro Kamal Sabri had already performed earlier in the evening and was enjoying the rest of the show as part of the audience when he was requested to jam with the Hungarian pianist.

Sabri obliged and what followed was simply magical. Kael and Sabri played off each other's musical styles as if they had been band mates for years.

The duo, along with a frisky-fingered tabla player, left the audience of some 3,000 people with a sense of elation.

Among those enjoying the show was upcoming starlet Manara, Priyanka Chopra's cousin.

Asked if she had enjoyed the music, she said: "The fusion created by the two (Sabri and Kael) was unbelievable, these kinds of events should take place more often."

Manara at the Delhi International Jazz Festival.

Another highlight of the last day of the festival was Kamal Sabri and his band Soul of India playing improvisations that featured his sarangi backed by an electric bass guitar, keyboards and tabla.

The introduction of the sarangi to jazz arrangements is a new concept that Sabri wants to explore further.

"I want to see how the sound of the sarangi can blend with notes in a jazz arrangement and I want to revive the sarangi on the global stage," he said.

More than 10,000 people attended the three-day festival at the Nehru Park, enjoying world-class jazz from lesser-known names and simply having a nice time hanging out with family and friends.

The event, organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, has become India’s biggest jazz festival over the years and an inspiration for many bands such as Drift Trio and Sold Out. The event combines international jazz musicians with the best local talents.

The bands and musicians that performed in this year’s festival were The Remi Panossian Trio (France) trumpeter Piotr Wojtasik (Poland), Enrico Zanisi Trio (Italy), Esteban Copete y su Kinteto Pacifico band (Colombia), Kamal Sabri and Soul of India (India), and Rimon Jazz Institute Trio (Israel).

The event was coordinated by Big Shows Entertainers Pvt Ltd and public relations managed by H ‘n’ V Communications.

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