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World Jazz Fest 2024: All aboard the Blue Train

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The Chi Quartet
| Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

“The World Jazz Festival was born out of a friendship with jazz maestros across Europe and the United States,” says Mahesh Babu, the curator and reason why this symphony of world music comes to Bengaluru this weekend.

Mahesh Babu founded Banyan Tree with his wife Nandini Mahesh in 1996. “Over the past 28 years, we have held classical, folk and Sufi concerts. Four years ago, we launched this jazz festival in collaboration with the Netherlands-based Amersfoort Jazz Festival as we believe there is a demand in India for all kinds of jazz — old school and new age. I feel jazz is beautiful, interesting and makes some lovely music,” says Mahesh.

“This year, we travel to five cities. Dehradun was specifically designed for senior citizens of the city. The World Jazz Festival went there for the first time last year and since they loved our line-up so much, we returned this year. From there we travel to Delhi, Bangalore, Bombay and conclude in Pune.”

Ben Van den Dungen

Ben Van den Dungen
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

According to Mahesh, it takes six months of brainstorming and discussion with their partners in Europe, especially Alexander Beets, one of the directors of the Amersfoort Festival, to shortlist the artistes who will be performing at each edition of the festival. The Amersfoort, which is in its 45th year, is an open air jazz festival held in Amersfoort, Netherlands every year.

The World Jazz Fest in Bengaluru will see artistes from South Africa, the United States, Netherlands and other countries perform, including Guitar Prasanna, a jazz maestro who also specialises in Carnatic music.

The two-hour long event will see tributes to two legends — John Coltrane and Horace Silver. Others bands such as the Tom Van der Zaal Quintet, the Chi Quartet, South African Jazz Legacy and the New York Round Midnight Orchestra will perform.

A certain segment of the evening is devoted to jazz standards from the Great American Songbook and would feature music from New York in the 1950s.

New York Round Midnight Orchestra ft. Alexander Hurricane Beets

New York Round Midnight Orchestra ft. Alexander Hurricane Beets
| Photo Credit:
Special Arrangement

“While the festival will be a treat for jazz lovers, even someone who doesn’t know about this genre, will enjoy the line up,” says Mahesh.

The World Jazz Festival will be held at Chowdiah Memorial Hall April 19. Tickets available on BookMyShow.com.

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