Go-to guitar guy and malabodol mate

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By The Telegraph Online
  • Published 23.06.13

Vikramjit ‘Tuki’ Banerjee pens a tribute to his favourite Krosswindz mate, DWIGHT PATTISON.

I first spotted Dwight Pattison in the late 1980s at a fest at Jadavpur University, where the famous rock band High was performing as the headlining act. I was still in college. From the very first note that Dwight played on the bass guitar, he had my attention. The tone and conviction in his playing were astounding.

I remember when Krosswindz were going into the studio in 1990 to record our very first demo, we took Dwight’s help. We borrowed his expensive Ibanez Saber bass as we did not yet have proper instruments.

He would always encourage us to do innovative music. He would play the perfect host and his house was almost an open house. Musicians and creative people of all sorts would drop in at all odd hours. And yet his gracious family would open their rooms and kitchens to us rowdy rockers. There would be music playing, hot piping tasty food for everyone and lots of jamming all through the night.

Our friendship grew over the years and I started visiting his place at Park Circus more often. I started discussing experimental musical ideas with him. I started planning a recording session of my own to test out these new musical ideas and got the opportunity when vocalist Chandrani Banerjee penned two songs in a similar vein to what was going on in my mind and Dwight’s. It resulted in a session that lasted hardly four hours of studio time in mid-1994. We came out of the studio with two songs — The Minstrel and Memories of You — both with the signature growling passionate bass playing of Dwight.

In 1994, Krosswindz was offered a tour of Mumbai and we were to play at the famous Mood Indigo festival at IIT Mumbai as the headlining band. At this critical juncture our bassist took a sabbatical. We rushed to Dwight and begged him to help us out by joining as our new bass player. The gig was just a day away but he agreed. I remember how we practised on the train with a Walkman and headphones, and with just one run through of the material, Dwight memorised the music.

Dwight was an established studio ace in the Mumbai musical circuit in the early 1990s. In fact, he was the go-to bassist for top-notch music directors like Leslie Lewis and Loy Mendonsa. He decided to move back to Calcutta as his family was based here. With Dwight in the band we went from strength to strength and played all over the country.

In 1994, the famous Mohiner Ghoraguli project happened with the recording of the album Abar Bochor Kuri Pore. We were asked to render the song Prithibi by Gautam Chattopadhyay. The song was recorded in almost one take with minimum fuss and Dwight came up with this stunning bass solo for the song’s prelude and it remains the solo to learn for upcoming bassists in Bengal.

Dwight and I had this ritual where we would exchange instruments. I would call it malabodol! He would play the guitar and I would play the bass. I watched and learnt lots from him. This ritual even manifested itself in the studio sessions of our next Bengali album Poth Geche Benke, where in the song Ghum Bhange we did the malabodol, so I ended up playing bass guitar and Dwight ended up playing nylon string lead guitar. We were both such big fans of the bass guitar that we would compete with each other to excel at it.

Dwight was very well read and I often saw him reading books on philosophy on a quiet afternoon. His command over English was stunning. He wrote our band bio to present to booking agents. Dwight as a songwriter was just something else and people need to listen to his compositions, which are with his family.

In 1999, Dwight decided to move to Bangalore to be with his family. We bid adieu though only for a while as he was a regular visitor to the city. Although we were in separate cities for the last 13 years, we were constantly in touch.

I always knew that when chips were down there was always Dwight to call upon. He remains my favourite Krosswindz mate over the years.

Just a few days ago, I received a phone call from him. He asked about the status of my film-recording sessions and we were also in talks to do a project together where he would play the bass.

He told me that he was going on a vacation as he was exhausted from excessive touring. He promised to meet me on his way back but alas that was not to be. I was shocked to receive a phone call from his brother Peter on Sunday (June 16) informing me of his passing.

He was a free spirit and a force of nature, something akin to a hurricane. I will miss him enormously.

How do you remember Dwight Pattison? Tell ttmetro@abpmail.com