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So before it was clarinet and saxophone, we added bass clarinet as well giving us this three horn front line. This was very much modelled on Bismillah Khan’s ensembles where he had two shehnais accompanying him as well as dolakh and tabla. I love the sound of those wind instruments playing together—playing the melody in unison or playing strongly rooted harmonies or just playing a drone underneath as we improvised and so on. It led to this quite free-flowing improvisational way of arranging a piece. It was very spontaneous and there was just something for me in those two extra wind instruments that really gave a solidity to the sound. Since then there that has been the sound that I have wanted to make. So that is the sound of the new album, Primal Odyssey—the clarinet, tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, double bass and drums. The group with whom you were playing at Foyles Bookstore during the London Jazz Festival last Fall, are they your regular ensemble? Well it’s slightly different because we didn’t

have the bass clarinet that day so we used the alto sax instead. I sort of have a regular circle of musicians who drop in and out when certain people can’t do things. What is good about that is that it helps keep the sound fresh, always bringing new kinds of ways of looking at a tune. Also if you haven’t rehearsed something but everybody knows how it is supposed to sound this means that the music can sound quite spontaneous. So when we were playing that afternoon whilst everybody knew the tunes, it was clear that it could go anywhere and there was no set way of playing it. That is quite important to me and it is very much the Indian aesthetic as well. It is also part of the jazz tradition, especially present in the music musicians like of Billie Holiday. I have listened to hundreds of her recordings and no two recordings of the same song are alike. Also similar is Om Kalthoum’s repertoire as she reinvents song in each new performance. Your performances recall this kind of temporality, this modality of being in the moment. Even the way you move speaks to this kind of investment in the here and now which I much admire.

Profile for LSD Magazine

LSD Magazine - Issue 9 - Chasing Dragons  

Issue 9 of LSD Magazine is out now. Bursting at the digital seams with sizzling art, searching interviews, slamming music, a dash of politi...

LSD Magazine - Issue 9 - Chasing Dragons  

Issue 9 of LSD Magazine is out now. Bursting at the digital seams with sizzling art, searching interviews, slamming music, a dash of politi...

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