Steve Sequeira, an Afro-American drummer had landed in Goa in the ’60s and quickly become one of the cultural icons of Mumbai and performed in legendary shows, such as Alyque Padamsee’s Jesus Christ Superstar. Now 67, he finds it hard to make peace with the jazz audience of today — be it in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi or Kolkata. He will try to capture the old magic when the two-day Goa International Jazz Live Festival begins today. The other highlight is Niranjan Jhaveri’s popular Jazz Yatras.
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Produced by Teamwork Arts, the festival, which will take place at Stonewater Resorts, is a precursor to Jazz Yatra, which is being revived in Delhi and will feature jazz heavyweight Stanley Jordan as its headlining act later next month.
Sequeira says that the state of jazz in the country is a big problem. “There are very few jazz musicians left here. It may seem that there are many because it’s a tourist town, but those old mansions, like the Gonsalves mansion, don’t have much happening anymore. As for the music, there is very little real jazz around. There is only trance and EDM. A festival such as this, in a place which once produced some of the best jazz musicians in India, becomes significant,” says Sequeira.
Sequeira came from Dar es Salaam and from a world of listening to “white man’s dance jazz” in clubs and bars. His training in drums constituted playing on the table as a child and developing a keen ear. “Blending has to be careful. Indian music sometimes tends to be linear. Jazz is the opposite of that. It is music that cannot function without chord changes and shifts,” says Sequeira.
The first edition of the festival will also host Gael Horellou, a French saxophonist, who has performed all over Europe and US at key jazz festivals, apart from True School All Stars, musician Tony Boyd’s funk band from the US, Tam De Villiers Quartet, from France, and British punk-jazz group World Service Project. Delhi-based DMT Jazz Trio will also make an appearance at the festival, which will conclude with a performance by Malika Tirolien, who has one of the most powerful voices in the jazz world. She blends jazz with Caribbean music soul, jazz, R & B and hip hop and is well-known for her work in the Grammy-winning release, Snarky Puppy’s Family Dinner.
On Saturday and Sunday, 7 pm
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