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There may not be too many of them but these city musicians are slowly and surely keeping Delhi's jazz culture alive

ON A BRIGHT, sunny morning in 1958, Art Kane was probably aware that he was creating history. Kane shot 57 jazz greats including Thelonious Monk, Buster Bailey and Sonny Rollins in a photograph titled Harlem 1958. The photographs of the people featured on this page, is our version of Harlem 1958, even though most of them would balk at the comparison. These artistes are boldly going where few have gone before and few show interest in going --on a jazz yatra.

Musicians including The Variety Hour, DJ San Bindra, Sonam Kalra and the Gautam Ghosh Collective have been quietly carving a niche for themselves on the, small, but emerging jazz scene in the Capital. Refreshingly, all the musicians plays/sing a different tune. The Variety Hour, which plays at The Park on Sundays, try and stick with traditional jazz, with variations in between. San Bindra on the other hand, plays electro jazz as smoothly as he changes identities to morph into a house, or club music DJ. Sonam Kalra's repertoire is vast; it includes gospel and ballads as well, while the Gautam Ghosh Collective, who you can hear at Haze and Blues, insists that it is a world music 'bond', with jazz influences. Other bands, such as Syncopation are most excited about contemporary jazz.

The Variety Hour consists of Arjun Sagar Gupta on the piano, Sahil Warsi on bass and Nikhil Vasudevan on drums. The boys all between 21 and 25 years, are one of the few traditional jazz line ups in the city. And they all have day jobs too. Gupta is a businessman working to bring green technology to the country, Vasudevan works as a copywriter with Studio 4-D and Warsi is enrolled in a masters in philosophy course at the Delhi University. But that doesn't mean they're not serious about their music -- start them off on the pedagogy of jazz and they'll open up a veritable storehouse of information for you. All three trained in music -- Gupta trained with John Rafael, Vasudevan learned to play the mridangam growing up and Warsi attended bass lessons in America.

San Bindra studied sound modulation in London. He put theory into practice -- and started experimenting with all the different styles he enjoyed. Even now, he plays different forms under different pseudonyms -- as an elecby Karanjeet Kaur tronic jazz DJ, he is Jazzdelic Dreams, choosing to focus on the styles set by Coltrane and Charlie Parker. Bindra rues the fact that his audience doesn't know much about electro-jazz and listens only to music that gets promoted.

SONAM KALRA too, had no training in ballads and jazz -- she learned as she went along. She first performed at the IHC, followed by performances at the IIC and last year's Delhi International Arts Festival. An ex-advertising person and a writer, Kalra wears her several hats with aplomb. Her upcoming performances include gospel music at the Church of Redemption on October 7, a private performance at Veda on October 9 and yet another one at Spice, Garden of Five Senses on October 30. Gautam Ghosh one of our most respected musicians says his music has always been influenced.

He discovered Time For Jazz, a show on Voice of America in 1976 and has since been hooked. Theatre personality Barry John introduced him to artistes such as Miles Davis. The collective, a 'bond, not a band' consisting of Ghosh, Siddharth Das and Vikas Gautam, plays a mix of what they call glocal jazz. Das performs as a percussionist while Gautam brings his background of Bollywood and devotional music to the table. They refer to themselves as the three laughing Buddhas, since all their names have a variation of the several names of the Buddha. The trio performs at Haze tonight, on what they call, the Global Oneness Day.


CONSISTS OF: Arjun Sagar Gupta (piano), Sahil Warsi (bass) and Nikhil Vasudevan (drums).

PERFORM AT: Every Sunday at The Park, CP.

WHO THEY ARE: The young men, all between 21 and 25 years, form one of the few traditional jazz line-ups in the city. And they all have day jobs as well. Gupta is a businessman working to bring green technology to the country; Vasudevan works as a copywriter with Studio 4-D; and Warsi is pursuing a Master's in Philosophy at Delhi University. That doesn't mean they are not serious about their music -- start them off on the pedagogy of jazz and they'll open up a new world for you.


PERFORMS AT: One Cafe Bar occasionally. He will perform at Jazz Lounge, Ai, MGF Metropolitan Mall, Saket.

WHO HE IS: This Delhi-boy trained in sound modulation in London. Bindra, along with collaborator Pankaj Awasthi, has scored the background music of a couple of lesser-known Bollywood films . Bindra plays several types of music, catering to different moods. In his 'Jazzdelic Dreams' avatar, he chooses to focus on the new-agey styles set by John Coltrane and Charlie Parker.


CONSISTS OF: (From left) Siddharth Das (sarod and drums), Gautam Ghosh (keyboards, synth, vocals) and Vikas Gautam (alto and soprano sax, metal flute).

PERFORM AT: Haze, Basant Lok Complex, tonight. WHO THEY ARE: The collective refers to itself as a 'bond not a band' because most of their music is impromptu. The trio performs tonight to celebrate what they call the Global Oneness Day.


PERFORMS AT: Church of Redemption on October 7; Veda on October 9; Spice, Garden of Five Senses, on October 30. Past performances include those at IHC and IIC.

WHO SHE IS: Kalra is an ex-advertising person, former TV anchor, actress, musician and writer. You may also recognise her as the voice behind Discovery Travel & Living, Vatika, Airtel, LG Cookie and IndiGo. Phew! Yet, she wears each of her hats with precision and aplomb. Her repertoire includes gospel, jazz and ballads. Funnily, she trained in Hindustani classical music with Shubha Mudgal. And she briefly trained in gospel music in Delhi and Singapore. Her favourites behind the mike include Ella Fitzgerald hits.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Sep 11, 2009

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