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Bebop Spoken There

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13,530 (and counting) posts since we started blogging 13 years ago. 948 of them this year alone and, so far, 112 this month (July 31).

Friday, March 13, 2009

Free Spirits, Corner House Hotel, Thursday 12 March. Report by Russell.

Lewis Watson (ten/sop), Neil Harland (bs/bs.gtr), Dharambir Singh (sitar), Bhupinder Singh Chaggar (tabla and electric percussion).

The function room of a suburban public house was the meeting place for Eastern & Western musical traditions in the form of Free Spirits. Following a triumphant concert performance at the recent London Jazz Festival local jazz fans and interestingly, non - jazz fans, were in attendance for this eagerly anticipated event. The evening began with sitar and tabla establishing the framework for the first of the ragas. The slow tempo encouraged Lewis Watson to enter the proceedings on tenor and ace bassman Neil Harland was right there setting down a funklike feel which he maintained throughout the evening. A series of ragas unfolded with all four musicians reacting to the subtle shifts in emphasis from one or other of the quartet. Bhupinder Singh Chaggar, at times displaying bewildering hand speed, encouraged numerous change of tempi within any one piece. His musical compatriots were quick to respond and at times there was thrilling interplay between two, three or indeed all four musicians.

The second set began with Singh Chaggar and Harland locked in an exchange of rhythmic ideas which, at its conclusion, drew much, fully deserved, applause. A Harland original, written in memory of percussionist Bruce Arthur, brought the quartet together once again. Dharambir Singh dazzled in his improvisation on a scale - Watson took up the challenge - and a flurry of notes went to and fro. The fusion of classical Indian music and jazz worked so well, that, at times, a coherent sound emerged rendering the labelling or categorisation of the music somewhat redundant. Free Spirits - four virtuosi. Free Spirits hope to play another concert in the north east later this year. Watch this space. (Sittar info.)

Russell.

Photos

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed it - reminded me in places of the Joe Harriott Indo-jazz fusions albeit with a more contemporary feel. The sitar had me fascinated with its individual fret tunings and unusual fret spacings. Do they play from some form of tablature?

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this concert also. What a joyous marriage of art forms and also how nice to see people of different cultural background come together in mutual respect and friendship to make lovely music.
I found the following link for some info. on sitar and tabla.
http://www.soolaba.com/instr.htm
I'm looking forward to their next JNE gig in the autumn and would recommend anyone to go.
Unique and special!
Roly

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