The Jazz Masters Show at Taj Club House, a fund-raiser, entertained the audience with foot-tapping music and fine performances

The wait seemed endless, yet jazz giants Joe Alvarez and Louiz Banks were still off-stage even after an hour. The crowd continued to trickle in. The Jazz Masters Show, held at Taj Club House recently, was aimed at generating funds for Life Help Centre for the Handicapped, Palavakkam.

The proceeds from the concert will go towards the construction of a rehabilitation centre for differently-abled adults in Mamallapuram. “The centre will enable them to acquire vocational skills so that they can be employed in mainstream companies,” said Blaze Kannan, honorary secretary and director, Life Help Centre, “The project is estimated to cost Rs.32.5 crore and Akshaya Uncompromise has extended its support to the cause,” he added.

The concert finally began and the audience perked up as they watched Louiz on the keyboard, Sheldon D’Silva on the bass guitar, Gino Banks (Louiz’ son) on the drums, and Alvarez singing. Their first song (about the fish in the sea, said Joe) ‘Bombay Duck’, was typically jazz. Peppy, foot-tapping music that blended flawlessly with Joe’s deep voice. “Burning it up, Burning it down,” sang Joe, changing pace and intonation. The song came to an end and the hall was enveloped in silence. “You can clap if you like it,” said Joe, before the audience burst into rapturous applause.

Two more numbers by Joe followed, after which he introduced his daughter Shefali Alvarez. The father-daughter duo performed a lilting duet. Shefali then took over the stage for a couple of songs, her voice clear and unfaltering as she navigated pitches with practised ease. ‘Georgie Porgie Pudding Pie’, which played on the popular nursery rhyme truly showcased her vocal skills. While she has already started her Bollywood career, one couldn’t help thinking that a parallel career as a jazz singer is not far behind.

Solos by Louiz, Gino and Sheldon followed. A master keyboardist, the sheer speed at which he played justified why he is referred to as the Godfather of Indian Jazz. His son Gino was a delight to watch too, varying rhythm and pace on the drums. Sheldon’s bass guitar skills were something to admire as well. As his fingers strummed, glided, and teased the strings, you realised you couldn’t take your eyes off the instrument. There were a few more songs by Joe and Shefali, before the evening drew to a close.