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Jazz fest day 3: the best of jazz

Jorge Pardo Huellas Quartet's Jorge blew the flute and tenor saxaphone alternately to make them sing with equal ease and mastery. Jonathan Vikram Pradhan writes.

music Updated: Mar 19, 2013 23:38 IST
Jonathan Vikram Pradhan
Jonathan Vikram Pradhan
Hindustan Times
International jazz festival,Malcom Barff,Nehru Park

The third Day of the International Jazz Festival at New Delhi’s Nehru Park saw performance by Jorge Pardo Huellas Quartet from Spain. Fronted by the talented Jorge Pardo (flute and tenor saxphone) along with Josemi Carmona (flamenco guitar), Jose Manuel Ruiz (percussion) and Pablo Baez (contrabass), the band played tunes that drove its strength from flamenco style jazz.

Jorge blew the flute and tenor saxaphone to make them sing with equal ease and mastery and Josemi’s guitar playing was amazingly impressive. I wouldn’t be lying if some of the listeners were transported to the Good, Bad and Ugly era. I was.

For those who missed Oleg Butman Quartet from Russia on the second day of the festival, the day was a chance to catch them as the management slotted the band on third day’s performance list. The trio from Russia comprising of band leader and drummer Ogel Butman, pianist Ivan Farmakovsky, bassist Anton Revnuk and saxophone player Sergey Golovnia played their original compositions such as ‘ Inside Out’ (Ivan), 'Beautiful Lady Anna' (Sergey), 'At The Edge' (Oleg) and their 2009 album titled tune 'Passion' (Oleg).

Oleg Butman trio from Russia. Photo by Jonathan V Pradhan

With Oleg’s playing-all-my-life drumming with hands-going-everywhere and hi-hat snapping like crazy, ‘At The Edge’ was a treat!

Sax notes that ran up and down like squirrels in the trees, Sergey went unstoppable sometimes and Ivan’s peculiar jazz arrangements were something to relish for. Ogel picks his influences as Tony Williams, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones.

Next up was guitar virtuoso Dhruv Ghanekar along with Gino Banks on the drums and Sheldon D'Silva on bass guitar. The trio started with electrifying fusion piece Mahaganapathim with Dhruv blending Carnatic notes beautifully with western scales with rock solid bass and drums back up.

Dhruv Ghanekar plays some killer riffs at the Jazz Fest. Photo by Jonathan V Pradhan

Other pieces included, Pop Quiz, Cunning Politics, Zawi D (with Dhruv scatting) and Axetortion. Gino’s and Sheldon’s drums and bass solos were killers as always.. in fact..more from the heart.

American jazz singer Sachal Vasandani this time decided to drop his band playing with him instead showed up on stage with just clean guitar accompaniment. Sometimes reminiscent of the legend jazz singer Frank Sinatra, who Sachal admires as a singer, Sachal’s songs were honest and clever. With his deep voice which scaled higher notes effortlessly, he sang his compositions such as No More Tears, Storybook, Haystacks to name a few. With confidence that oozed, Sachal proved that he is a performer sure to go places. Sachal’s performance was a hit with the younger audience for sure.

The final act of the day, and the one everyone was looking forward to, was the Malcom Braff Trio from Switzerland. Fronted by Malcom Braff who was trained as Western classical pianist in his earlier years, accompanied by Reggie Washington on the bass and Stephane Galland on the drums, the trio presented Malcom’s compositions which reeked of strong African and gospel influences as well as other things which took his fancy as being ‘a citizen of the world.’

Malcom played the piano as if he was born playing them peppered with impromptu improvisations. Although they performed only three compositions, the mastery of their respective instruments took to full bloom and made for a rare and unique jazz music experience.

Malcom Braff of Switzerland plays the piano at the Jazz Fest. Photo by Jonathan V Pradhan

Malcom is a regular at the Cully Jazz festival and one of the most prolific jazz pianists in Switzerland.

Today’s performance with feature jazz bands Toshanbar from India, The New South Africa Jazz Collective from South Africa and Louiz Banks from India.