From Coltrane to Ragas

Trip Start Sep 28, 2011
Trip End Oct 30, 2012

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Flag of India  , West Bengal,
Friday, June 8, 2012

It has been a record breaking summer in terms of heat and humidity.  The intense weather has kept us inside, under the fan, and expelling most of our energy in practicing.  Other than living the simple life here in our house we had a wonderful concert opportunity offered us that directed our musical practice in both a Raga sense and a Jazz sense.  Being good friends with Bickram Ghosh, he offered us a concert in his "Live In Concert" Series held at the I.C.C.R concert hall in Kolkata; certainly the nicest soft-seater, air-conditioned theater in the city!!  We were given free-reign on the concept and direction, but had to put it all together in less than three weeks. For a typical concert, that usually wouldn't be a problem, but attemping to seize the opportunity and present the fullest of our musical vision, Jonathan and I dived deep into our creative souls and put together a complex and multi-faceted performance that included Indian Classical music, a tribute to John Coltrane- all set to a visual and video projectons.  A main aspect of the presentation was the musicians that we decided to collaborate with. As we had to straddle the two very different worlds of Indian Classical music and Jazz, we decided to feature the late period music of John Coltrane and render one of his powerful suites "Prayers & Meditations", in the form of Indian Classical music. To achieve the interaction and energy of Coltrane's late period music we chose to play with three amazingly talented percussionists from here in Kolkata.  Pandit Gopal Burman is renowned for bringing the Shri Khol, a traditional folk instrument, into the Classical realm with his dedication and un-matched talent.  On tabla, Subhojyoti Guha, who is a dear friend of ours who we met here in Kolkata and also performed with at home in Toronto. He also splits his time between our two favourite cities!  His Tabla playing is energetic and crisp and he has a great sense of our Jazz tendencies and syncopated improvisations.  We rounded out the group with a wonderful multi-talented percussionist, Ratul Shankar, who has a total grasp of Indian rhythm played though different worldly percussion instruments.  Jonathan and I spent many hours locked in my room, in the sweltering heat filming backgrounds for the various sections, and I also found some suitable video I had taken during our travels around India.  As the group consisted of only saxophones and percussion, we linked the two elements with customized drones and soundscapes.  We also realised that many, if not most people here would not be very familiar with John Coltrane, especially his later period music.  This period of music is truly the most relatable to India, both musically and spiritually. So to help paint a picture of who Coltrane was, a why he is so influential, we began the concert and ended the concert with a montage of Coltrane photos accompanied by Prose writings by Shayna, Jon's girlfriend.  These two sections featured improvised music based on "Living Space" and "Nature Boy".  I think that's enough of trying to explain what we did, we hope that you will enjoy watching this short clip from a TV Culture show, and also stay tuned and check back for when we post the entire concert.  Jonathan & I couldn't have been more proud of what we presented and look forward to developing these ideas over the years and continuing to share the legacy of John Coltrane and our continuation of his path.

'From Coltrane to Ragas'  Spotlight on Tara Music VIDEO LINK

 Please continue on to the next blog entry by clicking the link at the bottom of the page.  We're headed to Hyderabad for the One World Fusion Extravaganza Concert!!  

Thanks for your interest and support. Please comment and give us feedback whenever you can, as we's love to hear from all of you.
Andrew & Jonathan
Included below are some of the photos I've taken while out and about the city and nearby our house.  Hope you enjoy the typical Bengali Summer scenes.

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