Monday, November 13, 2006

Memorabel Music - Legends Live

Memorable Music
Legends Live

Spellbinding music lovers for two pulsating, moonlit evenings on 9th and 10th February at the Kala Academy was a superb synthesis of contemporary and vintage jazz by the cream of Goan greats, says Joel D'Souza
In an exclusive debut of the world of jazz by Goan musicians, the inaugural evening took off thunderously with The Great Music Revival. Performing in their first concert together in India, were the Jazz Aliens comprising Miles Perry on the bass guitar, Giles Perry on the drums, reedman Carl Clements of Boston and keyboardist Graham Dean of Johannesburg.

The Aliens set a blistering pace with Samurai Samba, which was followed by other smoothly flowing improvisations and evergreen numbers like Invitation, Another You, All the Blues, So What, Tenor Madness, Take Five, etc. Whatever the Aliens played was wildly cheered and applauded. Giles Perry on the drums unleashed a scintillating display of stickwork, particularly in what Miles had announced as "the wildest drums solo you have ever heard". Miles Perry appeared to interpret on the guitar what his brother did on the drums. The talented sons of living legend Chris Perry left all wonderstruck.

Saxophonist Carl Clements, who performs with Hindustani maestros, blew symphonic solos on the soprano sax. Carl is a graduate of the Berkeley School of Music in Boston and the California Institute of Arts. Though influenced by the style of jazz greats like Charlie Parker and John Coltrains, Carl's tones don't sound harsh and reedy at all, but well rounded, resembling a blend of sax, oboe and flute music.

"True virtuosity warming the cockles of the heart," remarked compere Col Sylvester D'Souza. The Aliens did pump the air with rugged, romantic music in a contemporary vein. Errol Perry took the drums for one number in the rugged race. While Errol's sticks danced like fireflies, Graham Dean's fingers enacted an equally stunning show on the keyboards.

Killing me Softly was Graham's chance to play some exquisite rare effects on one hand, while Miles Perry's fingers flitted magically over the fretwork.

Miles appeared to be thrifty with his exceptional leads on the bass, though we longed to hear more of it. They played So What? by Miles Davis, after whom Miles has been named. Graham, a sound engineer to boot, took over the mike just once before they struck Tenor Madness which coaxed Chris Perry to show up. Chris thanked the crowd. He said, I spent a lot of money to get my sons qualified in music in America. Don't you think that I am a proud father? I am too old to play jazz now. I played it for 30 years." Anyway, he did play a wild number to prove that he can hold a deep breath well. A crowd puller all the way, Chris succeeded in getting the audience clapping the tempo for Take Five.

The Jazz Aliens carved an interpretive style which symbolised fine artistry, for which they received a standing ovation. They left the audience hooked on jazz and waiting eargerly for the following day.

Vintage Jazzy Joe
Joe Pereira, the jazz king of India, and his cream of Goan musicians, began the second evening entitled A Tribute to the Great Goan Legends. The 70-plus reedman's imaginative repertoire including Stardust, Conciano, Duke Ellington's Caravan, The Flight of the Raga, Dixieland Preachers, Take Five, Tambdde Roza Tuje Pole, and vocals like Moonlight in Goa, Am I Blue? and Hope my Day will come, which were rendered by Nicole D'Lima, who incidentally shared the compering with Col D'Souza. Performing with Joe were Bosco Monsorate and A Frank on the trumpets, Blasco Monsorate on the trombone, scull-capped Tony Pinto on the piano, Lester Godinho on the drums, Domnic Fernandes on the bass guitar and petite Merlyn D'Souza on the keyboards. Each of them excelled in their department. If music be so sweet, it should be like Jazzy Joe's The Flight of the Raga with strains of Hindustani music. They did swing into another number with unusual rhythm which was the sweetest and most melodious instrumental of the charged evening. Incidentally, Joe dedicated it to his music teacher Sebastian Fernandes from Verem. On this evening were feted legendary drummer Leslie Godinho from Majorda and Anthony Gonsalves, a titan in film music composition.


An Ursula Touch

Heightening the excitement was the quartet led by pianist Johnny Fernandes, playing foot-tapping instrumentals. The vocals rendered by Ursula Fernandes were strong and gutsy. Ursula took off with the vibrant number Deep Mood, composed by her father, the inimitable Chic Chocolate from Aldona, and the late Amancio D'Souza. This piece was followed by Night in Tunisia, Sister Sady, Leaves Start to Fall, Black Bird and other favourites.

Johnny Fernandes, Ursula's husband from Anjuna, reigned supreme on the keyboards. Keeping him company was Lester, the terrific percussionist who

The Aliens did pump the air with rugged, romantic music in a contemporary vein. Errol Perry took the drums for one number in then rugged race. While Errol's sticks danced like fireflies, Graham Dean's fingers enacted and equally stunning show on the keyboards"

regaled the audience with exciting drum solos, Domnic Fernandes on the bass. Cajie Alphonso, another excellent drummer, played for the number How High the Moon at which moment the moon was right overhead. Towards the end Ursula jammed up with Joe's ensemble for a far-out Dixie session. Nicole, in the glittering dress, too grabbed the mike and the two crooned to glory in a vocal duel. Right through the live performance Goa's celebrated cartoonist Mario Miranda sat transforming the Jazzy show into his inimitable caricatures. Carlos Monteiro, Goa's guitarring pride, bassist Mac Dourado, the keyboard virtuoso Xavier Pires and Remo's drummer Glen Pinto took over after the non-residents had bowed out and there was hardly any audience left. In Goa, where jazz is not a regular affair, and contemporary jazz virtually non-existent, those two evenings made possible by Fundacao Oriente, proved memorable. The conceptualisation and event management by Victor Hugo Gomes' Resonance deserves a pat on the back and so does the suave mood-setter Col Sylvester D'Souza.


Drumming Up Jazz
Joel D'Souza caught up with ace jazz drummer Giles Perry for a tete-a-tete the day after the show.
What's jazz like in the United States?
In the United States, people love jazz. People come to listen to jazz with the right perspective in mind. So you get the right people for the right take, while here (in Goa) the community comes for more of enjoyment.

How is it that Glen Perry is missing from The Jazz Aliens?
My brother Glen is making it great in pop; he is quite a celebrity. In fact, he travels with big names and performs with renowned players. We are into jazz basically because we are born to a jazz father.

Every Perry in your family is into music as if born under the same star…
All of us are into music. Yeah. Normally it doesn't happen. I think it is the love for the art. My father never wanted us to become musicians. He wanted us to be doctors or engineers, because he knew that it is very hard to become a successful and good musician.

Music must be a tough uphill task….
You are taking a risk when you take to music. You never know what can happen when you are halfway down the road. But it's the love that keeps you going and what is really important is to believe in yourself. My father always tells us: you believe in yourself, be confident and work hard; and I think that there is no substitute for this formula.

How much is Chris Perry responsible for your success?
Right from the time we learnt to hear music, we were listening to good music - to records of Duke Ellington, Miles Davis and others. But when I turned seven Dad got me my first violin and started to teach me to play it. Three years later he got me a proper violin tutor maestro Micael Martins, under whom I studied for a long time. And that (violin) was one hell of an instrument. It takes all your time, patience, friends and all party time. So I did that till I was seventeen. I had to get up at 6 o'clock and practice.

You were in Bombay then…
Yes. I would see my friends go to the movies on Sundays but I had to stay home and practice. Sometimes my father would bribe me: "I will give you a hundred bucks if you practice for an hour." Why not practice then? With money I could buy me friends!

Have you played in Hindi films?
Yes. I played the third violin. Dad got me into Hindi film music. He would take me to the film studios in Bombay, to Laxmikant Pyarelal. Dad was writing music for the films at that time.

Why did you quit films?
I didn't like the scene out there. When it comes to music, you have to be fair to yourself. It's not work you are doing because somebody wants you to do it. In the studios, it was all about money and not music. There is no room to crawl in. There is too much politics in the industry. See what happened to Dad: he wrote the music for three movies - Bobby, Kabhie Kabhie and Trishul. But somebody else took the credit. And now my brother Glen is telling me that someone stole his music from the number Laila and made a Hindi version of it. You get very frustrated when somebody does a thing like that.

Why did you exchange the violin for drums both being almost poles apart?
I wanted to play the drums but my father would never get me a drum set. Drums at that time were not played seriously and so no one thought of the drums then. After my graduation every one was putting up a band and they needed drummers. With drums I started getting more friends.

What music did you study in the United States?
I studied music for a year at the Berkeley School of Music, but it was getting too expensive. So I moved to California, where I met and heard the music of great jazz exponents and took tuition from great jazz teachers. There I was also playing with different bands.

You teach music in Dubai…
Yes. From children to professionals and embassy staff come to learn music there. But in Dubai, it was like business. So I thought I had to do something and went into practice again. And so this first concert in Goa. Goa is beautiful. It's like a paradise. Last night I wanted to talk to the people but my voice was hoarse as if I had been singing.

Do you remember Mhoje Maim which you and Miles recorded when you were small?
Oh yes. If you were just to remind us last night, we would have loved to play that number. Because when the audience shouted for Goan music, we could not think of anything to play.

1 comment:

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