News & Reviews

Jazz Fest at DI - A celebration of music Author:Debargho Sarkar   Posted On:2017-12-12


Jazzfest 2017, a three-day annual event organized by Littlei and held at Dalhousie Institute, was a roaring success despite the despicable attempt by the rain gods at disruption. Jazz lovers braved the weather and thronged the much loved festival with fervor.

Day 1: Kolkata’s beloved Amyt Dutta kicked off the festival with his electric quartet (Jivraj Singh: drums, Akash Ganguly: bass, Johnathan Kay: Saxophone) collaborating with award-winning German graphic novelist Reinhard Kleist who provided wonderful visual representation of the music with noir-like images. Amyt mesmerised the audience with his angular yet melodically linear playing. ‘Ironic bironic’ showcased the band’s electrifying moments and ace drummer Jivraj Singh shone like the true star he is. Amyt hoped that the audience ‘continues to support such a festival and it is sustainable in the future’.

Pol Belardi and the URBAN 5 from Netherlands stepped up the tempo with their infectious tunes. Their first visit to India, and the audience was enthralled with the silk-smooth jazz vocals of Mara Minjoli. The band sounded stellar and performed their original tunes ‘Flying’, ‘The little things of life’ and ‘Kolkata traffic’.

KEFAYA, an international music collective formed and led by London-based musicians and producers Giuliano Modarelli and Al MacSween, was the star of the evening. The group’s musical styles and sounds transcended geopolitical boundaries. Performing tunes inflected with music from Israel, Afghanistan and India, they were an instant hit with the crowd. The band rounded up Friday evening at Courtyard@DI with their mesmerizing technical prowess, and the duets between the guitarist and keyboardist reminded us of the Indian ‘jugalbandi’ style.

Day 2: Despite the intermittent drizzle, jazz lovers of the city were subjected to a wide selection of sonic infections. The rain again was a damp squib as the Florian Favre Trio, a straight ahead jazz setup from Switzerland, entertained the brolly-carrying jazz enthusiasts. Florian’s lyrical style at the piano was aptly supported by Manu Hagmann and Arthur Alard and the band’s perfect blend of playfulness and accuracy was much loved by all.

This was followed by Mn’JAM EXPERIMENT (Portugal/Netherlands) with the graphics, and they provided a much needed distraction from the drizzle.

ERIK TRUFFAZ & RIATSU (France/India) took to the stage as the drizzle turned into an occasional downpour. But having the maestro on stage meant more, as the audience braved the wet evening and stayed on to hear him. The soggy awkwardness was taken well in stride.

Requests from the audience for an encore culminated in Erik and Riatsu performing way past their allotted time – after all, you don’t get to hear the great Erik Truffaz every day – that too at a live concert in Kolkata. His last visit was almost a decade ago!

Day 3: CCO3 (Netherlands) kicked off Day 3 of the Jazz Fest with something soulful, something funky. Some great guitar strumming and an equally upbeat drumming providing the much needed tempo to celebrate Jazz music.

EYM TRIO ft. Mirande Shah (France) enthralled the audience with some great piano and double bass. Mirande also presented a soulful rendition of fusion compositions based on Indian ragas, with the Trio supporting and matching her with their musical notes.

C.A.R. (Germany) winded up Jazz Fest 2017 with electronic and fusion music... something different... something cool...and definitely heady! So much so that the courtyard rung out with cries of ‘One more, one more!’ Truly a great ride!

Though rain played spoilsport, it couldn't dampen the spirit of the jazz enthusiasts.

The excitement was visible as we heard enthusiastic members of the audience share their reactions about the bands and their music.

‘It’s one event that we all look forward to, come rain or snow – and it’s always better to come unarmed. No distractions to hold the umbrella – just soak in the festive mood of music and unique compositions for 3 days back-to-back’, remarked Manas, a diehard jazz lover who braved the drizzle and sat through the entire festival without an umbrella!

‘The light drizzle at least ensured that the event wasn’t a complete washout – else we would have missed the legendary Erik Truffaz’ remarked Rahul at the end of day 2.

‘We hoped for more traditional Jazz compositions and not electronic music or contemporary fusion music, but overall the fest was a thoroughly enjoyable weekend’ was Sourav’s response when asked about his takeaway from Jazz Fest 2017.

Food and beverage counters set up by DI ensured that there was enough and more for everyone during the 3 -day festival of music.

Every band member thanked the audience for being supportive and ensuring that the Jazz Fest is held successfully every year in Kolkata. The event signed off with the hope that with continued support from all, jazz musicians would continue performing and entertaining audiences in the years to come!

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