The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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In June, it’s back to jazz and blues
- Seventies stars for a serious show

Jazz has come back to town. With it, come back to the Calcutta stage some of the most popular voices and musicians of the 70s, in a one-of-a-kind ensemble. Blue Moon, a Concert in Jazz ’n’ Blues, reunites some for a “serious” show and brings together for the first time other jazz and rock veterans.

Leading the list for the June 5 show is “this country’s leading jazz singer” Pam Crain. Though her voice is a regular at the Oberoi Grand, this is her first major concert in Calcutta after a hiatus. She will sing, for the first time, with rock-blues singer Anjum, “very popular on the Calcutta rock scene in the 70s”. The musicians include Anto Menezes on the vibes and keyboards, guitarist Amit Dutta, pianist Debabrata Mitra, Willie Walters on the bass and Nondon Bagchi at the drums.

Interest was first shown by the musicians, who decided to take the plunge before fretting about logistics. “There seems to be a revived interest in this kind of music, with a few jazz and blues events happening in town over the past few months,” explains Anjum, best known as a “dead ringer” of Janis Joplin, as well as for her performances with members of the legendary rock-act, High. “Here, there were musicians in the city, but nobody heard them. There was a sense that now, once again, that there are people who want to hear them going back to jazz,” she adds.

Renditions of Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Carmen McCrae, Queen Sylvia Embry and Eva Cassidy are featured on the song-list for the evening. “I wanted to try material that was fairly new. Not the stuff that has been done over and over again,” says Anjum. Though rehearsals are on hold right now with Crain out of town, they are to resume on Monday.

“I am always game for these things, provided I can do justice to the kind of music,” says Nondon, a regular on Calcutta’s music scene with Hip Pocket. Though the drummer believes the discerning audiences in Calcutta have “always been awake to good events”, this blend of music has returned to the stage after a while. “Pam is singing a very interesting mix of straight-ahead jazz, some funk-jazz fusion and some blues. Also, both the vocalists have very different vocal interpretations,” he elaborates.

The concert, at GD Birla Sabhagar, also marks a comeback of sorts for the Sumit Roy-Navin Kishore endeavour that dates back to 1972. After Roy left the city, Kishore had continued with musical concerts under the Seagull Empire banner, later extending it to books and performing arts. “But now, every month, we are planning an event at GD Birla Sabhagar,” explains Roy. So June will feature jazz, while the coming months also promise theatre and film events.

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