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Jazz up: Drift! The Trio is out with debut album

Drift! The Trio, a Delhi-based contemporary jazz band, initially started their musical journey performing at select south Delhi pubs in 2009. With several shows behind them the band is out with their debut album, Nico. Jonathan V Pradhan reports.

music Updated: Aug 05, 2013 03:01 IST
Jonathan Vikram Pradhan
Jonathan Vikram Pradhan

Drift! The Trio, a Delhi-based contemporary jazz band, initially started their musical journey performing at select south Delhi pubs in 2009. Nicolas was playing with them at that time.

They covered standard jazz numbers (Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck, and Wayne Shorter to name a few) which was quite new then than the city's usual live acts apart from the big hotels, and the people were grooving to their playing.

With several shows behind them, Drift is out with its debut album - Nico, a fitting album title which reflects their love and appreciation for ex-band member, Frenchman Nicolas Giordani (sax), who unfortunately passed away at an early age but whose playing has influenced the band in more ways than one.

Sahil Warsi, Reuben Narain and Pranai Gurung in Gulmarg

Led by Reuben Narain (drums) along with Pranai Gurung (guitars) and Sahil Warsi (double bass), Drift's Nico, like most debut albums, is made up of a collection of songs written over a course of a couple of years while playing as a band. As Reuben likes to put it, "it is a real representation of our journey as a band."

Their compositions are honest and imaginative which I guess comes after years of listening to the genre's greats playing and trying to weave one's individual feel and groove to the music.

Most of the tunes are written by Reuben, who puts his soul into making the drums speak his mind. Pranai's classical guitar background and Sahil's Berklee-bred double bass sound, churns out sounds which give their playing a rich texture. Par exemple, track Tune Tarantino has a pacy and sinister feel which smacks of Tarantino flicks with equally melodic riffs to go with. Quantime begins with an interesting drums and bass intro and mingles with well chosen notes on the guitar and passes through some tricky time intervals with good-to-listen feel to it, while Ten One is more peppy and simple, instantly catchy. Envelope, To Beginnings and Feathers Flight are compositions which are straight from the heart.

Nico can be called Drift's labour of love in its truest sense as it was conceived with a lot of love for what they wanted to do and with somewhat less favourable situations. With shoestring budget and innovative ideas of turning a music school room into a studio, they recorded the 9 tracks in just four days with no retakes!

Drift performing at a Hauz Khas rooftop cafe. Photo by Anisha Saigal.

The most impressive part about Drift's playing is simplicity. With clean guitar tones sans sound-twisting gadgets and immaculate drumming and bass accompaniment, they sound fresh and new, blending nicely with the old charm of standard jazz.

They plan to make the album available through various online music platforms as well as in CDs. Get connected!

Track listing: Quantime, Envelop, To Beginnings, Tune Tarantino, Elysian Fields, Ten One, Not So Blue, In A Turn Of Events, Feathers Flight

You can listen to the tune excerpts at:

(From left) Sahil Warsi, Reuben Narain, Pranai Gurung

Drift! The Trio are:

Reuben Narain (Drums)

Pranai Gurung (Guitars)

Sahil Warsi (Double bass)

Visit their facebook page Drift! The Trio

Reuben Narain

Reuben Narain started playing drums at the age of 15 in his school band at DPS R.K Puram. Besides studying with private instructors from an early age, he studied jazz drums formally at the prestigious Drummers Collective in New York and went on to pursue a bachelors in music at the Berklee College of Music, Boston where he was the recipient of a $28,000 scholarship offered by the school.

He has, in his short career performed with many bands, covering a large array of musical genres. Reuben was a member of the critically acclaimed band 'True Colors' that won many competitions in the city.

He was a member of the 'Delhi Music Theatre' and played in musicals such as Music Man, Annie etc. He was also a member of the Boston based contemporary jazz band 'The Moss Quartet' that was featured at the Berklee Performance Center and received air time on Boston Radio.

In the last few years, Reuben has been actively performing with a variety of bands such as Artistes Unlimited, Faridkot, Frequency, Café Turtle jazz trio among others. He has had the privilege of accompanying celebrated jazz artists such as Tyris Washington, MargosHererra Rainer Pusch and Rory Stuart, among others. Reuben is a band leader in his own right and is writing music for his trio "Drift!!', that hopes to release their self-titled album soon. Reuben is also an active teacher.

Pranai Gurung
Pranai Gurung was brought up in a musical family where his father who was part of various musical acts and theatres had a huge influence in his early learning stages. He started off professionally as a bass player in his early days while in school with "Revelation" a rock outfit from his home town Darjeeling. In the spring of 2002, he along with his few friends went off to form critically acclaimed "J-hola" - trips to Kathmandu - a Nepali pop jazz album. Nepal - Kathmandu proved to be a major turning point. It introduced him to the world of Jazz - an interactive channel through various performing musicians - Jesse Van ruller, Ralph Thomas, Cadenza, Max lolo, Afro Dizzi Act to name a few. There he performed in the prestigious "Jazzmandu" 2003 with the Jazz Quartet J-Hola and also went on to perform in Miss Nepal 2003 featuring songs from their album. J-hola was a regular act in Shangri-La Jazz Bar and Moksh in Kathmandu.

He completed his education in classical guitar through Trinity College, where he completed his Grade 8 examination with Distinction. He started playing with "Silk Route" in 2007 as a session guitarist. Since then, Delhi has been his base where he is an active musician in the Delhi Music Circuit with various outfits like Drift the trio, Bolly Jazz, Red Mawkin, Tree 'O, Jazz Connection, Bloo Breakfast. He has had the privilege performing with celebrated jazz artists such as Jesse Van ruller, Igor Bezget, Rainer Pusch.

He is heading Blue Notes "School of Musical Arts", in South Delhi since 2006. He has been teaching classical guitar and Jazz guitar at Blue Notes.

Sahil Warsi
Sahil Warsi is a 22 year old double bassist living in New Delhi, India. He started playing the electric bass around his later years in school and eventually switched full time to jazz and the double bass. He spent a year in Tokyo, japan, learning Japanese and exploring the jazz scene there. His favourite artists include, Bill Evans, Scott le Faro, Charles Mingus, John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Ray Brown. He plays with full time with bebop trio Drift and also has done collaborations with artists and bands like Syncopation, Tarun Balani Group, Radha Thomas Group to name some. Currently he's studying music performance at Berklee, Boston.

First Published: Jul 18, 2013 17:18 IST