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Preview: Delhi International Jazz Festival

The Delhi International Jazz Festival starting March 15 will see performances by Dhruv Ghanekar, Louis Banks, Jorge Pardo, Imany and a mysterious New South African Jazz Collective. Read our preview for more.

14 Mar, 2013


Indiecision Staff

The Delhi International Jazz Festival is taking place between March 15 and March 18 at Nehru Park in New Delhi. The festival is being organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and is meant to act as a “tool for cultural contact”. The event was conceptualised in 2011 and is currently in its third edition. This year’s festival will feature some pretty cool performers from over 12 countries and will also see performances by four Indian jazz greats. The festival will last for four days and feature a minimum of three performers on each day. We’ve divided this preview day-wise to keep it simple.

Day 1
New Bone Quintet Band, Poland
The New Bone Quintet are a Polish jazz band. They’re very smooth-cool jazz and therefore, are good to listen to on a warm New Delhi evening. After listening to the band’s music, it will be apparent that they aren’t aren’t extremely innovative composers, sticking to the rules laid by jazz greats in previous eras, but they’re all good show men and can play very well. New Bone Quintet is a great way to start the festival because they won’t scare people away with their avant-garde improvisations and they’re a great band to listen to if you’ve been a fan of jazz through the golden years. It’s all about the groove.

Sylvie Bourban, Switzerland
Sylvie Bourban is a jazz vocalist and pianist who has some very engaging and catchy vocal jazz music. A quick glance at the music she’s made available online will reveal that her compositions are pretty bubbly and her voice favours more sparse instrumentation. Bourban improvises well during performances and is not boring at all, but her music is primarily in French which means that she will have to perform better in order to retain the audience’s attention. The singer will also be performing at the Blue Frog, Mumbai on March 24 and we suggest you check that show out as well.

Oscar Acevedo Quartet, Colombia
Oscar Acevedo is a drummer from Colombia and his quartet perform some pretty cool, old school-ish vocal jazz numbers on a regular basis. There isn’t much of their music to sample online, but in the few videos they have online, they come off as polished performers who just really like doing their own thing.

Day 1 of the festival is a great introduction to jazz for newer listeners and a good way to reacquaint yourself with some classical composition for seasoned ones.

Check out a small playlist of the acts featured on Day 1 of the festival below.

Day 2
UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble, India
UNK: The Radha Thomas Ensemble are an ensemble fronted by Radha Thomas, a vocalist who was also part of ’70s rock group Of Human Bondage. The band has an eclectic sound and mixes Indian elements with purist jazz improvisations to create a unique sound of their own, one that is accessible and complex at the same time. Stream their debut album here to get a taste of their sound.

Ararat, Israel
Ararat are a band that mix a lot of influences from Middle-Eastern, Meditteranean and Indian music to create an enjoyable mix of jazz (as displayed here). The band comprises a lot of experienced players and they have a sound that is very unique. The band is helmed by Ofer Peled, an acclaimed Israeli woodwind performer.

Imany, France
Imany is a singer-songwriter who performs in French as well as English. Her music is more acoustic than anything else but her rich voice is capable of translating emotion well enough to not be monotonous.

Oleg Butman Jazz Trio, Russia
Oleg Butman is a jazz drummer from Moscow. His trio perform some decent modern jazz backed by Butman’s improvisations on the drums. The trio generally perform with other composers, but their own brand of lounge jazz (as displayed here) is decent enough to not be boring.

Check out a playlist featuring all the acts performing on Day 2 below.

Day 3
Jorge Pardo Quartet, Spain
Jorge Pardo is a virtuoso jazz flautist and composer, who along with his quartet, creates a satisfyingly entertaining fusion of flamenco and jazz. Pardo himself has played with Paco de Lucia and Chick Corea among others and his own compositions retain some of the sophistication present in their music while also infusing them with some more accessible elements. The layered compositions and spontaneous joy they seem to infuse in their live performances make them an act that you should definitely watch out for at the festival.

Dhruv Ghanekar (pictured inside), India
Dhruv Ghanekar is well-known in the Indian indie space for his compositions, his band Chakraview, and for being the guy who started Blue Frog. The guitarist has also played at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender 2011 (report here) and is widely considered to be one of the country’s finest jazz guitarists.

Sachal Vasandani, USA
Vasandani is a jazz-vocalist from the USA and is slowly gaining some prominence as a master of vocalese in New York jazz circles. His songs are light-hearted and entertaining enough, but the vocal stylings might not go down well with an audience that doesn’t want to concentrate on the voice.

Malcom Braff Trio, Switzerland
The Malcolm Braff Trio play some very spirited free jazz that a lot of people enjoy. They take their musical cues from African rhythms and fuse them with classical jazz to create something that sounds similar to but isn’t quite like what Miles Davis would create, but don’t sound exactly like the composer, which can or cannot be a good thing. They’re really good at improvising, though.

Check out a playlist featuring the acts performing on Day 3 of the Delhi International Jazz Festival below.

Day 4
Toshanbor, India
Toshanbor Singh Nongbet is a classical jazz and opera singer who will be performing on Day four of the festival. He’s got a huge voice and is a good showman. This also probably explains why he has successfully featured on shows such as India’s Got Talent and he will proabably be an entertaining act to kick the evening off with.

The New South Africa Jazz Collective, South Africa
We don’t know about this band and there is no information that we can find on any online portal. The press release for the festival sheds no light on their mysterious nature and if you love mystery, you should probably check them out. Seriously, though, please let us know if you find out about the New South Africa Jazz Collective.

Louis Banks (pictured outside), India
Louis Banks is considered to be the godfather of Indian Jazz and is known to put on a great show, always. His compositions are rich and layered and you shouldn’t miss his set even if you aren’t a huge fan of jazz.

Here’s a final playlist of all the acts performing on the last day of the Delhi International Jazz Festival.

The festival will be held every day at Nehru Park in New Delhi between 6:30pm and 9pm and entry to the event is completely free.

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