An opus you can refuge!

City-based jazz musician is set to perform with Japanese saxophonist here on Friday
“You are your own refuge. Who else could be the refuge?” says Bengaluru-based pianist Aman Mahajan, quoting Buddha. And that’s something he finds in the embrace of his band’s music. An instrumental ensemble, Refuge plays around with jazz compositions, lacing it with elements of folk and classical music from around the world. After performing with his quartet in the city, this Berklee-bred musician is all set to resound in an evening of contemporary jazz featuring renowned Japanese Saxophonist, Yuichiro Tokuda at BFlat Bar this Friday.
“Refuge is more the title of a set of music than a band as there is a lot of improvisation in this music. The sound of the band depends a lot on the musicians involved, and includes a blend of each musician’s aesthetic sense,” says Aman about his band that consists of saxophonist Matt Littlewood, Mishko M’ba on electric bass and drummer Jeoraj George. Fusing mystical traditions from around the world, each piece is an opus that promises to be spontaneously different. “I’ve been fortunate to have worked with musicians from different parts of the world, in a variety of backgrounds and musical traditions. This has been a major influence,” says the 29-year-old composer who inspired by a sense of universal connection, tries to reflect more abstract ideas of balance, space and unity in his pieces.
Working with the likes Lucky Ali, Arooj Aftab, Mystik Vibes, Krishna’s Temple Rock, Kaya: Urban Poetry, Suraj Mani and the Tattva Trippers to name a few, Aman is a lover of collaborations. “A childhood dream of mine was to travel and have a conversation through music with a musician of any background. I found myself studying jazz and improvisation while continuing to have an interest in applying the spirit of the music as universally as possible. This led me to meet and play with musicians of various backgrounds,” he says, even using his pet pooch as inspiration for his songs. “Sitaphalmandi was written for my dog, Charlie, from Sitaphalmandi, Hyderabad,” he quips.
A staunch believer in having a formal education in music, he says that he was lucky enough to have supportive parents who have always encouraged him to play, study and practice music from when he was very young. “My mother enrolled me for piano lessons while my father suggested I study at Berklee,” he reveals. “Apart from the education and passion, playing music has also been the most obvious way to avoid having a day job. I can’t imagine a different career,” he says, even turning teacher for intermediate pianists who are interested in jazz and improvisation. Aside from taking to yoga, cycling and word games on his phone to let his mind breathe, Aman is a vegan and is working towards helping eliminate animal exploitation.
While his band preps to perform at the Hyderabad Jazz Festival this November, concocting new material and planning a live album for the near future, Aman has some advice for those looking to explore a career in jazz. “Playing improvised music is a lifelong study, but also a direct form of expression and a creative pursuit. So apart from studying theory and transcribing recordings at home, go to live performances, listen and play with other musicians as much as possible,” says Aman.
( Source : deccan chronicle )
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