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Exchanging Notes

When Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries began jamming with sitarist Ustad Shujad Khan and jazz pianist Kevin Hays in Los Angeles six months ago...

Written by Suanshu Khurana |
February 1, 2010 6:59:27 am

Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries joins six other musicians for an evening of melody

When Rolling Stones saxophonist Tim Ries began jamming with sitarist Ustad Shujad Khan and jazz pianist Kevin Hays in Los Angeles six months ago,he realised that their experimental music was good enough to step out of the studio and be showcased before an audience. They roped in jazz pianist Karl Peters,multi-percussionist Karsh Kale,Persian singer Katayoun Goudarzi and percussionist Yogesh Samsi to explore the sound further. The result was Mélange — a five-city concert series in which jazz meet Indian classical music and electronica. Presented by Seagram’s 100 Pipers,the final leg of the India tour will be held at Pragati Maidan in Delhi on January 31.

Ries,on his first trip to India ,is confident that the Capital will enjoy the “spectacular melange”. “Jazz and Indian classical sounds are prominent but our music also has a Bollywood groove to it,and the Delhi show will also include some special spice sprinkled on a platter of different styles of music,” adds the Grammy Award winner. He says the entire process of creating Mélange was one of harmony. “ Apart from being sleep-deprived,we haven’t had a problem working with one another,” he adds.

The 90-minute concert consists of six compositions,most of which are only roughly sketched,allowing the musicians to improvise at every show. “All seven artistes are eloquent in their own styles so when they come together,the fusion of different languages is both masterful and harmonious,” says sitarist Shujaat Khan. The concert will open and close with Iranian musician Goudarzi presenting Rumi’s poetry in her sonorous voice while the remaining musicians play in the background.

“In case of improvisations on stage,if the aesthetics are mixed right,it always works. Though this is the first time that the seven of us are performing together,there’s a high comfort level,” says Kale. He adds that most artistes have worked with each other before on other projects.

The group has visited Hyderabad ,Mumbai,Kolkata and Bangalore previously and plan to tour the US in the next few months. “When we perform together,it doesn’t matter as to where we come from. The boundary line is blurred and we speak one language —of harmony,” says Ries.

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