All that Jazz

Improvisation is at the core of this Austrian jazz duo’s music.

Written by Jaskiran Kapoor | Published: April 20, 2013 11:55 pm

Improvisation is at the core of this Austrian jazz duo’s music.

The conversations are endless and comprise exchange of ideas,moods,emotions,expressions and thoughts. When they sit together for rehearsals and new compositions,Christoph Pepe Auer and Christian Bakanic talk about everything under the sun. “This is how we make our music,for it depends a lot on our communication,influences,perceptions and thought process,” says Auer. The two were in Chandigarh for a concert as part of their South Asia tour which was held at Sukhna Lake in collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum,Austrian Embassy,Chandigarh Tourism and Chandigarh Film Society.

While Auer plays the bass clarinet,Bakanic swings on an accordion. This is the duo’s first official trip to India,which will be followed by Nepal. Auer and Bakanic show deep interest in Indian classical music. “We believe Trilok Gurtu (Indian percussionist and composer) is big here,” say the two as they talk about popular Indian musicians. Pt Ravi Shankar tops their list of international favourites. “Our travels expose us to lot of culture and we like to bring that to our music. We’ve been trained in Austrian classical music and have also been influenced by jazz,Balkan and Argentinian music. Now,India has been added to the list,” says Auer,who was supposed to perform in Leh-Ladakh in 2010. “But the concert got cancelled at the last minute,and I took the opportunity to trek the Himalayas. While travelling I even created a tune called Indian Sandpaper,” shares Auer.

A saxophonist,flautist and clarinet player,Auer has performed at a number of international jazz festivals and has also won the “Hans-Koller Preis” for being Newcomer of the Year. Bakanic,on the other hand,teaches music back home and has been highly praised as a composer. He plays the accordion and the Styrian traditional harmonica and is a rising star of the European music scene.

Improvisation and fusion lie at the core of the duo’s music. “There are a lot of crossover elements,and we use the European jazz style which gives complete freedom to be creative and inventive,” says Bakanic,who adds that the two prefer instrumental music. “Language is restricted to a particular country or region,and spoken words get lost in translation or sometimes are simply inaudible. But instrumental is enjoyed by everyone,and we tell stories through our tunes,” says Bakanic. After the Chandigarh performance,the duo’s next stop is Delhi.

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