All Jazz’d up – Jazz Utsav ‘05, Day One

I’d been waiting for the Jazz Utsav for about a month and after all that running around for tickets, which I finally got from RSJ (thanks again Shivangi), I was in a this-better-be-worth-it mood. It was.

Jazz isn’t the kind of music I’d sit down and pay attention to. Blues, yes, but sometimes. It’s much the same with Classical Indian music – it takes me a while to warm up to the music, and it needs to be a live performance for me to enjoy it. Maybe the fact that Jazz was used by him, him and her to torture me when I wanted to listen to Green Day and Colourblind has something to do with it.

After a meeting in some forsaken part of Kalkaji, I picked up Aishwarya and we somehow managed to reach Kamani Auditorium well in time for the concert. Discussed blogs, bloggers, books, shopping for books, second hand books, writing, and English Hons on the way. It’s a small world.

Harneet, Deepan, Priya, Anupa and I sat in the balcony because I was under the impression that the 50 bucks tickets were for the balcony. We realised a little too late that we could have sat down. Will do, on Day two.

The Show

1. The Steve Siqueira Quintet:
After an introduction by Soli Sorabhjee, the Steve Siqueira Quintet took stage, and played Footprints by Coltrane (sans the saxophone), Monk wears a new hat, Sambhar Maximus (which I liked most), Hey-ho, A Little Story, among others. Kittu Sequiera seemed to have a cold, and I thought the vocals lacked vigour. Steve Sequeira was fantastic on the piano, and Joshua Grant, imho, was excellent on the drums. I particularly liked how he improvised with the drums, changing the sound every now and then by playing different parts of the drums. Never seen that being done before. I enjoyed the bass solos by Brennon Defner, in particular. I thought their last song was a little monotonous. There wasn’t much jamming (or is it sparring?), though.

Correct me if I’m wrong (I’ll probably be getting a mail on this soon), but I don’t think many forms of music allow for drum solos? Or bass guitar solos?

2. Mynta:
Mynta were the most diverse of the three bands. Dallas Smith was multi-fluted (two different flutes and a clarinet), and Santiago Jimenez from Cuba (Coo-ba!) played the violin rather violently at times. The percussions, the jamming and the sparring were great fun. I also liked the way they involved the crowd, which is what makes Jazz so much fun. They also played a Celtic tune which I’m sure I’ve heard before. LOTR, maybe? I don’t know. Incidentally, who was the chap on the Caj�n – the one on the right who kept switching between instruments? The one someone thought wasn’t playing, just acting? The entire band was great. Loved the last composition that they played, particularly the odd little sound that Fazal Qureshi made with with the tabla. I remember Zakir Husain doing something similar at the Remember Shakti concert on 26th Jan. Shankar Mahadevan’s supposed to join them in Mumbai, so – Wow!

Among the more amusing things about the show was the orchestrated garlanding of the musicians; each of the ladies entrusted with the task had a sheepish look on their face and the crowd was most amused.

3. The Jonas Hellborg band: Mattias Eklundh on lead, Jonas Hellborg on Bass and Niclas Campagnol on drums

From a review I’d read on RSJ, I knew the oldies were going to be in for a shock: this was much like a rock show, and I’m surprised that Mattias didn’t joke about that. The heavier drumming got to some of them and quite a few left. I’m sure I saw Soli Sorabhjee walk out with his hands covering his ears, jokingly of course. lol

Mattias Eklundh made the show memorable, willing to joke about himself and the bands Scandinavian origins- “I’m sure we had a checklist. We wrote it on a napkin minutes before we came on stage. I’m sure I kept is somewhere. Oh, how unprofessional – I guess we must be Scandinavian!”

Other than this there was lots of physical comedy, with the long haired, blond and very Viking-like Mattias stomping on stage and growling occasionally. On one occasion when Hellborg was playing a solo and some guys went towards the stage with their cameras to take pictures of Mattias. Mattias made these angry, mock gestures and growling noises for the camera and tried to scare them away, and the crowd started laughing at that instead of listening to Hellborg. Hope Hellborg didn’t think people were laughing at him, but he seemed to be in the zone. There was another instance when Mattias managed to scare the chap taking a photograph away.

Mattias also knew the hindi interpretation of his name, and joked about it: “My first name is Mattias. My nickname is Ia, and my last name is errrr… Ek… Lundh. Jonas told me about the hindi meaning of this. Since peoples names are associated are with the instruments they play I play…” He was amusing and down to earth. (more here) After the show, a few guys jumped on stage and he signed their guitars and posed for photographs, making funny faces for the camera. According to their post on RSJ, he spoke to them for a bit too.

Musicwise – I really like Mattias’ guitaring; found it better than Hellborg on the bass, but I am partial to lead. The drumming was much heavier and hard to ignore. Sometimes it drowned out the Hellborg’s bass, which was disappointing. However, Hellborg ended with a fantastic solo in the end.

Also, the audi wasn’t acoustically equipped for heavier forms of music. Or maybe it was because we were in the balcony. We’ll take “stall seats” today. On the whole, a great show. Today’s lineup seems promising, though not as heavy – Jazz Unlimited Sextet (Srilanka), The Core (Norway), Solid ( Norway), Cow Beauty Quartet ( Denmark).

Addendum: Pics from the Bombay concert. From here



Mattias posing for a photo.

Anybody want to guess who (or what) that is next to Mattias, in white? And when was the last time he got a haircut? *grin*

1. Mynta, it seems, have linked to this review. Here’s a backlink to their site.
2. I also reviewed days two and three.


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