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Making honest music

Jazz and more A unique conversation in every concert Photo: Celine Cruz

Jazz and more A unique conversation in every concert Photo: Celine Cruz  

Contemporary jazz band, the Tam de Villiers Quartet, comes to town to put an original groove in Bengaluru’s music scene

Every band strives for originality. It is the dream of every musician to create his or her own signature in music. So it is with the Tam de Villiers Quartet. For over a decade, the contemporary jazz group from France has been striving for musical authenticity and compositional originality.

Ahead of their performance at BFlat on Saturday, the British-born, France-based composer and band frontman Tam de Villiers talks to MetroPlus about what is in store for music lovers.

“This is our first visit to India and I am delighted to discover the country and the Indian audience,” says Tam adding, “Come and listen to a group of dedicated musicians playing original and creative music with intensity, energy and passion. This performance is one you cannot miss.”

The Quartet’s biggest takeaway, Tam says, is that the audience will have the pleasure of attending a live performance and witnessing a unique conversation between four musicians that will never be exactly the same for each concert. “That conversation also extends to the members of the audience, as the presence of enthusiastic and attentive ears makes such a difference to the energy of each performance.”

Featuring Tam de Villiers on guitar, David Prez on tenor saxophone, Frédéric Chiffoleau on double bass and Karl Jannuska on drums, the band is the perfect example of a melting pot of influences seamlessly blended into an original voice.

The foursome promise to leave their audiences awestruck with their melodic showcase of contemporary jazz, that draws from all over the world.

Best describing their music as creatively-composed jazz music, driven by lots of electric guitar with many influences including rock, pop and classical music, Tam says his song-writing has a very unique process. “I come from a family of fine art sculptors, and even though I am the only musician in the family, I have developed a similar approach to composition. I look for structure, exploitation of space and balance of form in the same way one would when creating a sculptural piece of art.”

Looking back, Tam recalls that although he was first exposed to music when he was four years old with the violin and later with the piano at 10 years of age, “it wasn’t until I was 15 that I got ‘bitten by the bug’. At school, a friend told me he was putting a rock group together and he needed a guitarist, so he asked me if I played. I had never touched a guitar, but something made me say ‘yes I’ll do it’. He informed me that rehearsals would start in two weeks’ time. So I went home, picked up an old battered guitar from the attic and did my best to learn how to play a few Nirvana tunes and some basic chords. It was enough to keep me in the band and from there I never stopped being totally focused on taking a musical career as far as I could!”

Tam says being a musician is full of challenges, excitement, and is enormously rewarding when things go well. “But it is also a difficult path that one has to forge with determination. I am grateful to be doing something creative that forces me to try better and myself on many levels on a daily basis. You have to learn many skills nowadays to make things work as a musician, and this leads one to become familiar with the process of learning and cultivates inner-reflection. This I feel is a gift in today’s age where critical and deep thought can often be drowned out by the modern way of life.”

To aspiring musicians in the city, Tam suggests they try to smooth out their weaknesses. “But above all, make your natural strengths stronger. Nowadays, there are many incredible musicians, which is why focusing on what you are naturally good at will give you a unique appeal, rather than being only another competent musician with no deeply developed personal voice.”

Check out the Tam de Villiers Quartet live at BFlat, Indiranagar, on November 19 from 9 p.m. onwards. Tickets at Rs. 400 on bookmyshow and venue. Call 25278361

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 2:47:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/Making-honest-music/article16644589.ece

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