No jazz like NoJazz

Friends first And then musicians  

The round table was buzzing with conversations in rapid French, and I stood in the corner waiting for someone to take notice. Pascal, caught my eye and he pointed to the empty chair by his side and I gingerly made my way weaving through chairs and took my place beside the musician who plays percussion for the Parisian, electro-jazz, five-piece, dance band, NoJazz.

The band was in town to kick off the World Music Day concert at the Alliance Francaise and also for the launch of Chez Nous, a café at the Novotel Hotel in Bangalore.

“Hi. I am Pascal, do you mind if I eat lunch while I talk to you,” he said motioning at the neatly plated entrée, that was primarily cheese. “Sure, no problem,” I offered and he began, “We just got in to the city last night and we are exhausted. We came to India for a tour three years ago. Then we had more time and got to see sights and walk through the streets. This time it is more hurried, we barely have the time to see the city or jam with any Indian musicians.”

NoJazz has been together for ten years and except for the trumpet player not much has changed. Pascal says why, “Because we have been friends for ages and we have all played in different styles before we decided to be make music together. Everybody brings something different and we get to express ourselves with music. We know each other, their characters and the way we like to flow, our friendship is the only reason we are together.”

The origin of NoJazz comes from irreverence to rules and barriers of genre. To have the liberty to mix jazz with hip-hop or electronic music or drum and bass, that’s the essence of NoJazz. The band came together also because of their common interest in jazz, and they discussed jazz ideas, experimented with songs and fused it with pop ideas and made it more lyrical, “And then once we figured out how it works, the music gave us a unique style. It was a mix of all these things that gives us our sound,” said Pascal.

Freedom – it’s the most inherent trait of their work, and for effect Pascal repeats himself, “There is theme and improvisation. And then there is freedom. It is rare to have that kind of freedom.”

The tradition of jazz is big in France, Pascal’s blue eyes widened as he tried to express just how big it was, he says, “They have three magazines dedicated to jazz, which is too many for a small country and while we are big successes on one hand on the other we get into a lot of trouble with the classical jazz magazines. But in the 80’s, Miles Davis was not appreciated; now he is celebrated. We don’t care for what magazines have to say.”

NoJazz is now working on their next album, a live album that is still in recording. The album will have tracks by NoJazz featuring other artistes and will be out this autumn, but Pascal looks more excited when he talks about their anniversary, “We are celebrating with a show at the club where we did our first show.”

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 14, 2021 5:15:24 PM |

Next Story