WHY BOLLYWOOD? PROGRAMMER PETR CANCURA TELLS US: BOLLYWOOD HAS A LOT MORE IN COMMON WITH JAZZ THAN YOU MIGHT THINK! TAKE AUTORICKSHAW, FOR EXAMPLE…
Recently, I was writing a blog about Rudresh Mahanthappa, and the way his virtuosic group deals with fusing the worlds of jazz improvisation and the complexity and ornamentation of Indian music.
This morning, I put on The Humors of Autorickshaw, the newest album by Autorickshaw and I was amazed at the number of similarities between the two. For one, Rich Brown—who you may recall is the bass player playing with Rudresh—was the original member in Autorickshaw for many years.
In my days of touring folk and jazz festivals across Canada about 10 years back, I used to see Autorickshaw on a regular basis and all the musicians always went to see them because it was just inspiring to watch them perform in that playful manner that accomplished musicians can.
The group from Toronto is fronted by Suba Sankaran, who is one of the most highly regarded singers, musicians, educators and composers dealing with South Asian music in Canada. She is virtuosic!! I realize I have used this word before, however, it simply applies to someone who can handle the rhythmic complexity and unconventional tonality with such ease that you think… hey, I could do that too.
The new record from the group is epic in the best sense of the word. It is full of sounds from all over the world, yet always retaining the South Asian roots.
So what you can expect from this group as a jazz fan is the rhythmic complexity and exciting interplay that you will see at many of the jazz shows, however, you will get to experience the roots of South Asian music in all its glory as Suba is the real deal!
The group also has a drummer and a tabla player, both in the percussion family: the tabla giving the group the authentic South Asian flare and the drum set allowing for the trips to jazz-land and rock-ville.
What I also love about this new record and am really excited to see live is the new epic, rock perspective and how it fits in with the original jazz/Indian sound.
Autorickshaw plays Friday June 20 at 7:30 pm at Laurier Avenue Canadian Music Stage. For information and tickets: http://ottawajazz.wpengine.com/artists/autorickshaw/
Petr Cancura is Programming Director of TD Ottawa Jazz Festival.