Classic Innovation

Cyril Bondi at the performance. Photo: G. Ramakrishna  

This Saturday, the audience at Ravindra Bharathi were treated to a performance that surprised them at every turn. Though the line up of piano, double bass and drums was in keeping with jazz tradition, the bands music was experimental and constantly evolving. But in their words, their music is “more about freedom than style” and this was demonstrated by their sound.

The first track started with a long piano solo that set the mood and gave the audience a taste of what was to come, making it clear to them that it wasn’t going to be the conventional jazz trio gig. Displaying fine technique and fingerwork, Johann initiated the audience into the unique sounds of their music. He was accompanied by steady rhythms from Vincent Ruiz on doublebass and Cyril Bondi on drums. Most tracks began with a basic structure on the piano, to which Bourquenez added very interesting melodies as the rhythm sections came in.

The tempo picked up after the second number, with Bondi effortlessly altering the dynamics and feel of the drums and cymbals. Fifteen minutes into the performance, the audience was beginning to warm up to Plaistow’s sound. By the end of the performance, the music, that was at first dominated by the piano reached a full crescendo, with a piano solo as well as a performance by just the doublebass and drums in between.

Bourquenez did not cease to surprise with his manipulation of the piano; along with the uptempo melodic work with his right hand, his left hand was used to mute each string to create interesting variations in sound. By using even the musically benign parts of the piano, he pushed the resonance of the instrument to its limit in way that surprised both the layman and the conventional pianist.

Bourquenez however took a break for the fifth song, letting Bondi and Ruiz work their magic. Bondi, was no less innovative with the drums, one of the tracks saw him take the bow to the cymbal resulting in a unique sound that you don’t normally associate with percussion. Ruiz kept the performance tight through complex time signatures while also achieving an interesting tone with minimal micing.

While some would argue it necessary to know classic jazz in order to understand Plaistow’s take on it, the performance appealed to others simply on the basis of the novelty of the music as well as the energy of the performers.

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Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:08:53 PM |

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