Latin is no Greek to them

While the progression of jazz music in the age of digital download makes it accessible to a wider audience, it thereby banishes the ‘elitist’ notion attached with it; nevertheless, retaining the intellectual orientation of its structure that originally came from the African-American slaves.

Latin is no Greek to them

Fusion mantra: (L-R) Emmanuel Simon, Pradyumana Singh Manot, Bijit Bhattacharya and Premjit Dutta

Amarjot Kaur

While the progression of jazz music in the age of digital download makes it accessible to a wider audience, it thereby banishes the ‘elitist’ notion attached with it; nevertheless, retaining the intellectual orientation of its structure that originally came from the African-American slaves. At the Alliance Francaise de Chandigarh, The Latination, which is the only Latin jazz band in the country, wax eloquent about fusing the typical Latin music, including mambo, bolero and chachacha with European jazz music. The only advice they give to us is—if coming to attend our concert, don’t forget to wear your dancing shoes! While the band members of the Latin jazz band, comprising Emmanuel Simon, Pradyumna Singh Manot, Premjit Dutta and Bijit Bhattacharya explain the essence of their music, they share that the repertoire ranges from festive sounds of salsa and rumba to modern jazz, blending the dance compelling power of Afro-Latin rhythms, with dense harmonies and sophisticated melodies.

“Though the most famous form of Latin jazz is Bossanova, we will not be playing it at all. This is more like the fusion which takes heavily from the discreet jazz ballads and Latin boleros with improvisation and solo performances,” says Emmanuel. However, while talking about the elitist stereotypes associated with jazz music, since it arrived to India during the 1930s and was introduced to the babus in Calcutta and Bombay by the British, Pradyumna aka Paddy, says, “Well, it’s the same with Indian classical music too, but now the times are changing. Barring the elitist notion, I feel that only those who are educated in jazz music or have an idea about it will truly be able to understand it and that’s what matters.” Adding to his statement, Emmanuel hastens to say, “As a westerner, I feel that people who listen to western music in India are an educated and niche crowd anyway, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be elitist.”

Sharing that the concert will be focusing more on the percussions, Emmanuel, who plays percussions and Premjit Dutta on timbales, shares, “I feel that Indians really like percussions and that’s what our gig would be focusing on too. We have over a dozen percussionists,” he says. As they speak about the band that was formed over a year ago, Paddy shares, “We were all in a band called Los Amigos and the three of us, Emmanuel, Premjit and I separated to form The Latination. Bijit, who is the bassist joined in later.”

amarjot@tribunemail.com

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