It’s been a busy couple of days at the third edition of the International Hyderabad Jazz Festival at Phoenix Arena. The first day had Lisbeth Quartet from Germany and the Meghalaya band Fourth Element performing. On the second day, the French-American band ‘Thiefs’ brought a more contemporary approach to jazz music, with MC Edgar Sekloka and Neha Nair presenting songs, skilfully backed by saxophone player Christophe Panzani and Benoit Lugue on the electric bass.
Among the jazz performers was Hyderabad’s own Humayun Mirza. As a part of the band presentation of Dennis Powell Collective, Humayun — grandnephew of Begum Sugra Mirza (the illustrious social worker and founder of Safdaria Girls School) — performed on the trumpet.
Humayun is one of the very few trumpet players Hyderabad has. “That’s probably because trumpet is not a marriage-band instrument. But it’s not a difficult instrument to learn. The instrument has only three keys, learning the right technique makes it easy to play. Many young girls and women all over the world have made a mark with their performances on the instrument. Apart from being part of bands, trumpet is a great solo instrument. Listeners love the exciting sounds and high notes that come from a trumpet,” says Humayun.
Humayun, who’s deeply inspired by international jazz performers including Wynton Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Chris Botti, Louis Armstrong and Herbie Hancock, talks about what got him interested in trumpet. “As a boy, I’d heard a vinyl record of the famous trumpeter Eddie Calvert. That’s when I decided to learn to play the instrument. I began as a part of my school band in Hyderabad Public School, continuing into my college days in IIT Madras. I later undertook regular gigs and performances,” he adds.
Despite the city’s dismal trumpeting scene, Humayun’s rather upbeat about its jazz scene. “Many in the city are appreciating jazz standards and attending workshops to improve their knowledge. But we need more jazz festivals all over India,” he says.
Humayun talks about how music is one of the most relaxing factors in his life. “I constantly keep learning new techniques and styles. Earlier, I used to play pop but I’m shifting to light jazz. There’s also an element of modern style coming into jazz, which is interesting but sometimes difficult to understand. But no matter what I play, I am enjoying every moment with music,” he says signing off....