Jazz pianist Madhav Chari passes away

Madhav Chari quit his Ph.D. in Mathematics to become a full-time pianist. File Photo: S. S. Kumar   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

Madhav Chari, one of the India’s leading Jazz pianists died in Chennai on Friday. He was 48 and survived by his parents and a brother.

Madhav Chari’s life exemplified the belief that the two subjects — mathematics and music — complement each other. In the case of Madhav Chari, music prevailed over all other considerations and he even quit his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Illinois to become a full-time pianist.

“We are very close friends. His was a fiercely brilliant mind and he was a fine player. I cannot claim that I had worked with him. I can only say that I learnt a lot from him,” said noted pianist Anil Srinivasan.

Anil Srinivasan said he was away in Bombay for a concert and Madhav Chari, who was kept in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) had sent a word through another friend and bass guitarist N. Naveen Kumar that he was keen on seeing him.

“I met him along with Naveen once I reached Chennai,” said Mr Srinivasan, explaining that Madhav Chari was a private person.

Born and brought up in Kolkata, Madhav Chari spent a part of his life in the US. He returned to Chennai and was living here for the last 15 years. He had performed across the world.

“He was a genius and for those who do not know him closely, he might have come across as rude and arrogant. But he was very honest and spoke his mind,” said Naveen Kumar.

 Mr. Kumar, who had worked with him in the last five years, said Chari was a purist.

“For him, pure jazz mattered. This did not mean he was against other forms of music. He had a good knowledge of other forms of music including Indian classical music. But he was against what he called adulteration of music,” said Mr. Kumar.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 6:31:45 PM |

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