|JAZZING IT UP: At the first Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006 event at Lajimpat's Upstairs Jazz Bar,Cadenza band members (r-l) Rajat Rai, Navin Chhettri, Pravin Chhettri, and Samir Chettri are joined by Remi Abram Quartet's Claudio Celeda on the piano|
The musicians at the Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006 are a hard lot to spot and chat with. Several will arrive mere hours before they go on stage, others sport heavy accents ranging from French to Cuban. But when the festival began on Wednesday, with the Upstairs Jazz Bar packed to the rafters, it was the music doing the talking-and telling Kathmandu that there's a lot to look forward to this week.
Despite Wednesday's session being an intimate, unassuming affair, it showcased a whole range of talents, with local jazz trailblazers Cadenza getting things moving along with Remi Abram and Claudio Celada of the Remi Abram Quartet, and David Burgos.
Besides the home-grown Cadenza, Kutumba, Stupa, and Sukarma, only Afro Dizzi Act's Nick Aggs has done the Kathmandu jazz route before, which means nine fresh new acts to look out for. There are 11 events in total, running until 18 October. Here's Nepali Times' who's who of the visiting acts at Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006.
The Remi Abram Quartet
Fronted by charismatic saxophonist Remi Abram, the French quartet have an impressive track record and two CDs. Pianist Claudio Celada, drummer Ulrich Edorh, bassist Philipppe Guiraud, and Abram all have noteworthy solo careers, and have been playing together since 2000. Their music is rooted in be-bop, hard-bop, and Caribbean Jazz, and they perform mainly in Europe and the Caribbean.
A saxophonist, flautist, and composer, the German Andy Grosskopf isn't afraid to experiment. Besides his jazz-rock group Scrooge, he's also a part of trance.ition, which mixes dance, jazz, funk and oriental rhythms. His latest project, Nyle, works with singer Miles Griffith to create dance-funk-jazz. Exactly what mixture of his vast range of influences and talents Grosskopf is going to display here remains to be seen.
TR Dhandapany Ensemble
Master percussionist TR Dhandapany has over 40 years of musical experience-and only one performance in Kathmandu, the 16 October Jazz at Patan show, where he will build on South Indian rhythms to create fusion jazz with his ensemble of seven musicians and Cadenza.
Billed as 'El David' on the Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006 schedule, 26-year-old David Burgos' passion for music started in his native Venezuela, as percussion lessons were quickly followed by trumpet lessons at age 13. Growing up in Venezuela and Florida, he excelled at music, winning several awards. He plays at European jazz festivals and works in South Florida on numerous musical projects.
Remi Abram, Mariano Abello and David Burgos.
Canadian alto sax player Fran?ois Carrier is a tireless improviser, and his spontaneity and energy have moved his trio into the realm of jazz legends. Carrier told Nepali Times that at Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006, he'll "play the Fran?ois Carrier kind of jazz. I don't really like labelling anything but I can tell you that all the music will be improvised."
Two On the Horizon: Judy Lewis & Orr Didi
After an illustrious 18-year career as a classical pianist, Judy Lewis has in the last eight years earned international acclaim as Israel's leading jazz artist. With four albums to her name, she now teams up with 18-year-old Israeli guitar virtuoso Orr Didi, who is blind, creating a unique mix of rock energy and acoustic jazz.
The Latin Jazz All Stars
The Latin Jazz All Stars includes Puerto Rican Jorge Castro on tenor sax, Yunior Cabrerra from Cuba on bass, Colombian pianist Eddie Martinez, and Steve Berrios on drums. Each of the artists has an impressive solo record, and together they are a considerable force in the Latin jazz scene.
Nick Aggs - Afro Dizzi Act
Nick Aggs played in the first Jazzmandu in 2001 as part of the Australian funk-jazz group Afro Dizzi Act. Six years later, the group's saxophonist and percussionist is back on his own, following Afro Dizzi Act's new album Welcome Speech.
Andreas Hessen Schei and Hilde Marie Kjersem
Norwegian jazz vocalist Hilde Marie Kjersem teams up with countryman Andreas Hessen Schei for Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006. Kjersem's musical career began at 14, and now, at age 25, she is already working on her third album. Schei worked with her on 2004's Red Shoes Diary, and has played around the world with bands like Jaga Jazzist, Tub Quartet, Bertine Zetlitz, and Shining.