“It’s an honour to play with Gerard Machado,” guitarist and composer, Jagadeesh M.A, says two days before “Conversations with Jazz,” a guitar dialogue which will bring both stalwarts together this Friday. Gerard and Jagadeesh stand head and shoulders in Bengaluru’s music scene, with decades spent in the local jazz milieu. “Gerard was a few years older than me and was already performing by the time I developed an interest in jazz. He was a kind of a hero, then!” They have performed together since, over the years, but this marks Gerard’s first performance at the Bangalore School of Music, inspired, perhaps by Jagadeesh taking the reins as Director of Operations.
Now serving as the head of the School’s Jazz and Contemporary Music Department, Jagadeesh deals with a steady trickle of young, aspiring musicians interested in jazz. “It’s a slow shift, but it’s happening,” he says. “The genre itself consumes you, possibly why I continue to soldier on!” Bengaluru, with its air of experimental learning and discovery, is the ideal place for jazz, he believes.
Gerard Machado, who hails from a household lovingly known as the Von Trapp family, began playing the guitar at the age of six. He grew up to develop his own blend of bebop, rock and the blues, founded the Gerard Machado Network and performed at the iconic Jazz Yatras in Mumbai. Back home in Bengaluru, he is also part of Megha, a collaboration with veena exponent Suma Sudhindra.
Gerard and Jagadeesh will let their guitars do the talking on Friday, taking their audience from bebop to cool jazz and Bossanova. It also marks the start of the Chamber Jazz series, where students and audiences alike can experience the genre in all its many styles.
What: Conversations in Jazz
When: Friday, Nov. 16, 7 pm
Where: Aruna Sunderlal Auditorium, The Bangalore School of Music, R.T. Nagar
Alternate art spaces and music schools like BSM are a new lifeline for the flailing gig scene, which has been crippled by recent government diktats. “The Indiranagar area is dead, apart from a handful of venues that have managed to keep their license,” they say.
Establishments like Take 5 became casualties of this newfound administrative rigour, rues Jagadeesh, who recalls playing there. “It was the first live music venue in the city.”
Jagadeesh, a self-taught guitarist and composer, is a founder-member of the MoonArra World Fusion Ensemble. He grew up in the world of Indian Classical music, which, he says, continues to influence him today, as he collaborates with acclaimed musicians like Prakash Sontakke. An interest in flamenco led him to Spain and a trip to Cairo sparked an interest in the oud. They’re just back from a tour of Europe, too, from four concerts in Austria and one in Hungary. “What keeps me at this? Music is a jealous mistress,” he smiles, as his wife, Madhuri, the lead singer for MoonArra, chuckles in the background.
Jazz has always had a limited audience although Jagadeesh isn’t too perturbed. “The audience might be small but they’re part of the bouquet too, a slice of the whole.”...