Nepali Times
The jazz peace


Kathmandu jazz pioneers Cadenza sure know how to make an impression- their performance at the 4th Palmer Street Jazz Festival in Townsville, Australia in 2000 impressed everyone from jazz greats Don Burrows and the All-Stars to coordinator Neal Sellars\' daughter Susan, who packed up to come work on a smaller festival right here in the Valley. The first Jazzmandu two years later, featuring Burrows and Afro Dizzi Act, took the city by storm. Today the event is a regular fixture of the city's cultural calendar, this year running as Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006 from 11-18 October.

Besides Cadenza, this year\'s artists include The Remi Abram Quartet, Andy Grosskopf, El David Burgos, Francois Carrier, Judy Lewis, Latin Jazz All Stars, Norwegian Musos, and Stupa. They come together with lofty ideals of playing for peace. Like jazz, they say, peace has no boundaries.

Jazzmandu certainly seems to transcend nationality, with past acts including artists from Australia, Denmark, the US, Benin, and India. We've heard big band, free jazz, classical Indian-jazz fusion, and a lot of funked-up, danceable crossover music. Each individual adds their own twist, giving the festival a dynamic profile that keeps listeners coming back for more. Even the artists never really know what to expect at Jazzmandu. Jazz-funk musician Andy Grosskopf, a newcomer to Kathmandu with Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006 says, "I'm very interested in getting to know other cultures and ways of life!"

Navin Chhetri, drummer and vocalist of Cadenza, still gets emails from international acts from previous years-and many from outfits that want to play-waxing rapturous about what they fancifully call 'jazz in the Himalaya'. It's not just about the music at Jazzmandu, but also about how the music and the city meld. The concerts at Gokarna play off the sense of space and to the mountains behind, while Jazz at Patan is always a fusion of the best of all worlds.

Even the musicians from Nepal are remarkably diverse. Gandharba musicians have played at a previous festival, and this year Kutumba, a folk-fusion band, and Stupa, a rock-jazz combo will also make an appearance.

As always, Cadenza remain a star attraction. Along with their lineup, their style has changed from the straight-ahead, sometimes noodly sound of five years ago, to improvisation-focused Afro-Cuban traditions. Chhetri, who holds Cadenza together, says, "Nepal\'s best musicians have played for Cadenza, and when they leave, they're even better. We embrace styles from all over the world and blend them. That's what makes this so challenging, and fun."

One of the reasons there is so much crossover music is to spread the jazz bug. The dance grooves serve as a sort of gateway drug for the real thing. As Chhetri explains, "Jazz used to be considered music that old people listen to while lounging around. Now you can feel the excitement, energy, talent, and sophistication. It's simple, yet complicated."

Upstairs Jam featuring The Remi Abram Quartet/Cadenza & Friends, 7.30 PM on Wednesday, 11 October at the Upstairs Jazz Bar, Lajimpat, Rs 300.

Free Jazz a spontaneous warm up jam open to all, with Jazzmandu musicians at Darbar Square, Basantapur. 4-5PM, Thursday 12 October

Gokarna Jazz Bazaar featuring Nepali and international performers in a blend of cultural folk, classical and jazz music. 5PM onwards at the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort on Friday, 13 October, Rs 500. Free shuttles available.

Peace Parade Music for peace down the streets of Lajimpat, with jazz musicians, dancers, folk musicians, pancha kanyas and Buddhist monks. 11.30 AM - 12.30 PM, starting from Upstairs Jazz Bar on Saturday, 14 October

Red Hot Latin Jazz Afro-Caribbean and South American rhythms on Saturday, 14 October from 7.30 PM onwards at Hotel Shangri-la, Lajimpat. Rs 399

Jazz Movies featuring The Miles Davis Story and Calle 54, 6.30 PM onwards at Upstairs Jazz Bar for Rs 100 on Sunday, 15 October

Valley Jam with Francois Carrier, Andreas Hessen Schei and Hilde Marie Kjersem at 1905, Kantipath. 6.30 PM onwards on Sunday, 15 October for Rs 300

Jazz at Patan Nepali classical music fuses with international jazz and south Indian sounds on Monday 16 October, 6.30 PM on at Patan Museum Square for Rs 999.

All-Star Fever at Hotel Shangri-la, Tuesday, 17 October. The ultimate jam, with Jazzmandu musicians getting together after their individual sets for a high-energy jam. Rs 599, 5PM onwards, includes an exhibition of Jazzmandu photographs.

Jazz for the Next Generation Musicians share their stories and experiences with young jazz lovers at Nepal Music Centre, 11AM-1PM on Wednesday, 18 October.

Upstairs Jam Jazzmandu artists get together for a final gig on Wednesday, 18 October at Upstairs Jazz Bar. 7.30 PM onwards for Rs 300

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)