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No blues

The event was evasively — and in hindsight, rather aptly — named. ‘Jazz Blues and Beyond 2004’. A jamboree under the aegis of Congo Square (January 22-25, Dalhousie Institute), stretching the vocabulary of some jazz, no blues and a lot of beyond. Tanmoy Bose and his Taaltantra exhibited his once zesty percussion now low on novelty and humility — not even the redoubtable Taufiq Kureishi being able to inject the wow Bose’s group used to elicit.

Bangladeshi band Bangla proved the salient rocker— compact arrangements, ultra-sophisticated chords, backed by a lead singer who stunned with her unchained timbre, combining clarity, range and a riverine passion to a point of frenzy.

Shawn Lane’s tribute via the duet of Jonas Hellborg (guitar) and V. Selvaganesh (percussi-on) turned out to be an indulgence in fusion. Admittedly, and in keeping with the purpo-se of their performance, the notes were soft, elastic and essentially sepulchral, aided by Sevlaganesh’s increasingly racy exploits on the kanjeera.

Rena Rama Quartet greatly reassured with the presence of a piano, kindling hopes that jazz will prevail after a substantial hiatus. And it did. Not for them was the Joplinesque brand of stridence, instead a steady and formulaic lift threaded all their pieces together, interspersed with some engaging solos — notably the bass. Vocals made an appearance with the Karin Krog Trio — and with it came a much-needed taste of some standards. Love me while you may, Just in time and Everytime you say goodbye made for a fitting finale.

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