Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Goa’s jazz-man on display in an international showcase

Goa’s jazz specialist, Colin D’Cruz, has taken yet another jazzy step forward, being included in the JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2016. Café catches up with the artiste, to look into what this means for jazz in Goa

By | 09 Jan, 2017, 11:17PM IST

Goa’s jazz-man on display in an international showcase
A-   A+

Few people have stood out in the genre of jazz in Goa in more recent times. However, when one receives a letter from Herbie Hancock himself, lauding the work that has been undertaken, it’s safe to say that the music being produced is up to scratch. That, in a few words, can sum up what Colin D’Cruz has been undertaking for the bulk of his career.

Colin’s most recent accolades come at the hands of JazzWorldQuest, an online portal dedicated to the global promotion of jazz, which has launched the 2016 edition of its annual showcase that this year includes musicians from US, Romania, Poland, Greece, India and the UK. The reasoning behind this being a collection revolves around the belief of JazzWorldQuest that unique creative dimension and personal sound cannot be fully revealed listening to just one song. What the Showcase is all about is to stir curiosity and invite listeners to discover their work.

Speaking on what it means to be a part of such an internationally acclaimed line-up, Colin says, "I see forty years of performing professionally across India and around the world finally getting due recognition. I really never expected a track recorded at my humble home studio in Goa to be shortlisted among the 15 best global jazz recordings of 2016. Most of the credit has to go to flautist Prashant Mahale, guitarist Benoy Rai and pianist Sancho Menezes who really nailed it in session."

This JazzWorldQuest Showcase features a host of artistes from across the world, including Joseph Patrick Moore, Florin Raducanu, David Ellington, Robin Menuett Trio, Colin D’Cruz, Bob Thompson Band, Russ Hewitt, Bill Mentz, Kenn Smith, Ted Borodofsky and Southern Jazz Kajetan Borowski Trio, Phos Duo, Gino Foti, Bill Hart and the Mimika Orchestra. The work of the musicians on offer highlights how they all share a common passion for the multiple sides and paths of jazz they approach, with dedication not limited to their nationality, instrument played or age.

However, geographical boundaries do play a role in some matters, to an extent. At times, coming from a part of the world where jazz is not the musical norm, it could be harder to prove oneself. Colin points out that there is a way in which this can be worked around, saying, "Jazz has a niche audience anywhere in the world, and it's always a struggle balancing what is commercial and what is art. In India, it can be far more challenging when music and entertainment revolve around Bollywood. Right through the last four decades, I did manage to strike a reasonable balance, somehow sneaking in my first love, jazz, between all the ‘jhatkas and fatkas’ of Bollywood ‘item songs’. No matter what the genre of music, there was always an element of jazz in whatever and wherever I played. In fact, I even recorded a Konkani jazz album that has been getting a huge number of global downloads from people besides Goans. It's time one of those tracks made it to a global shortlist like my indo-jazz fusion track 'Seven' currently has."

And geography need not be a constricting factor, Colin points out: "The internet is the most amazing thing to happen in recent times. We now belong to a connected world. The moment I upload my music to the internet, I know I have a global audience. To be short-listed from millions of tunes being uploaded from all over the world each year is something beyond any of my dreams.  This is something all local musicians should realise. Look beyond your borders, the world has become your stage today, thanks to the internet. "

JazzWorldQuest Showcase 2016 can be downloaded at www.jazzworldquest.com. The download also includes a booklet with links to each artiste’s websites, where one can find details about their career, music samples and videos.