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Updated: June 9, 2014 19:01 IST

It's the Jazz time of the year

Jagyaseni Chatterjee
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Louiz Banks and Frank Dubier at the Jazz Festival.
Special Arrangement Louiz Banks and Frank Dubier at the Jazz Festival.

The two-day annual Jazz Music Festival with its prominent line-up of musicians and creative performances showcased the city widening musical repertoire

The first feature length talkie The Jazz Singer (released in 1927) was a cinematic pioneer, quite akin to the energy and excitement created by the phenomenal Louis Banks and his jazz troupe on the first day of the annual The Jazz Music Festival held this past weekend at the Walk-Courtyard, Phoenix Market City in Velachery. At least transiently, in the land of the Carnatic music, jazz raptured the learned audience.

For the fans of the Grammy award-nominated Louiz Banks, it was yet another taste of his thirst for composition and arrangement of instruments and the sounds that can be produced. Beginning with a down tempo Turn Around, a track that served as a good starter, elevating the mood in the open air atmosphere, it began to envision sounds that can make your imagination fly. The mood had a roller coaster ride with the fluid riffs and rich thumps of the subsequent tracks like She is something else, Joy, and Foot prints. Chasing shadows was a jewel in the crown with its steady rhythm backed by vibrant melody. Louiz presented an upbeat track – Monk wears a new hat which was dedicated to the American jazz pianist, Thelonius Monk.

Along with Louiz was his gifted son Gino who beyond the traditional drum kit is known for his techniques to expand the aural palette. While Pawan Benjamin was prominent in his saxophone creations, the audience perhaps missed the opportunity to listen to more of Sheldon D’Silva on the bass who represented the Asian continent as a music ambassador to the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and Sean Richey on the jazz guitar, in their solo renditions.

The evening also witnessed guest performer Mili Nair with her American throw of words to the music of Louiz. But for those who have seen Mili in Yatra and Badri Badariyan in Coke Studio’s Season 2 would have expected more from her. And as an element of surprise there was the 84-year-old saxophonist, Frank Dubier with his breathtaking tunes.

The audience for this evening of progressive and more contemporary jazz ironically were jazz aficionados, fans of blues music, senior musicians and cultural enthusiasts. Despite entry being free, the concert failed to draw as much as crowd as it should have, particularly youngsters, with many getting disturbed by the rotating neon lights placed too close to the seating arrangement. Given the publicity and prominent line-up of artistes, the event could have elicited more applause and a better response when Mili called out, “Chennai can you feel the joy?”

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