Jazz for the Next Generation showcased a high standard of up-and-coming local musical talent.
Undeterred by the current blockade, the annual jazz festival, Surya Nepal Jazzmandu - kicked off with its inaugural event on Wednesday evening: Jazz for the Next Generation.
Held outdoors under the setting sun within the grounds of the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory in Pulchok, Jazz for the Next Generation showcased a high standard of up-and-coming local musical talent. Seven artists were selected by the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory to play in front of an enthusiastic crowd and guest judges: members of Katamon Cherry.
With performances ranging from covers of pop legends such as the Beatles and Tina Turner; to jazz legends such as Chet Baker; as well as a range of outstanding originals, Jazz for the Next Generation proved once again that talent is not a commodity in short supply in the local music scene.
The judges had the difficult task of choosing four titles: Best Vocalist; Best Accompanying Act; Most Outstanding Artist; and Best Band.
Announcing the winners, guest judge Haim Deskoff of Katamon Cherry, said: "The performances were so diverse… it was very hard for us to decide".
The Forty Fingers Collective (pic, above) were judged the best band, and with good reason. With a cohesive set, the band exhibited both talent and passion. Their jazz original clearly impressed both the audience and judges.
Many were surprised to listen to the music of the band, which started playing together only two weeks ago.
"We formed this band just for the festival,” Mark Donald Rani, the band’s drummer told Nepali Times. Rani was also awarded the title of Most Outstanding Artist. Other members of the Indo-Nepal band include: guitarist Anish Malla, bassist Shawnbert Pyngrope and pianist Sanjay Shrestha.
As part of its prize, the band will be performing at Jazz Bazaar, one of Surya Nepal Jazzmandu’s premier events to be held this Saturday at the Gokarna Forest Resort. The members will also get to take part in a series of masterclass workshops with a wide range of international and local acts involved in the music festival.
Not knowing each other personally before their formation, the only commonality the band shared was the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory, as well an overwhelming commitment and skill for music, of course.
But with three originals already in its repertoire, the band is enthusiastically planning for the future: “The masterclass is the greatest prize,” the band’s pianist, Sanjay Shrestha admits.
When asked about the band’s future plans, Shrestha expressed the organic approach the band is taking. “We’ll see how it evolves,” he replied.
The Forty Fingers Collective is definitely an upcoming group to keep an eye out for and those who missed out on the band’s Wednesday performance can hear them at Saturday’s Jazz Bazaar.
Fuel up of jazz, Madeline Zutt