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ABC Radio celebrates International Jazz Day

  • Published at 09:51 pm April 30th, 2019
The Seesaw Quartet
The Seesaw Quartet performs at the Jazz Day event at capital’s Gulshan last Friday | Dhaka Tribune

Four leading jazz bands of the country Robert Russell Trio, 42, The Seesaw Quartet and Imran Ahmed Trio performed some international jazz and blues covers, along with some of their own improvisations, for the fans in attendance

In a quaint musical evening, organized by ABC Radio, International Jazz Day was celebrated in Bangladesh at Gulshan North Club on Friday, April 26. 

Four leading jazz bands of the country Robert Russell Trio, 42, The Seesaw Quartet and Imran Ahmed Trio performed some international jazz and blues covers, along with some of their own improvisations, for the fans in attendance.

Taking the stage first, Robert Russell Trio started with two famous jazz standards, "On Green Dolphin St" and "Pent Up House." Following the two numbers, the band played some of their own compositions, such as "Jazzmin," "Dancing Penguin" and "Jazz Crimes." 

Robert Russell Trio has Robert on keys, Tanveer Haque on bass and Towfiq Arifin on drums.

The trio had a lot of fun during their calm, melodic performance, with Robert and Tanveer frequently making the iconic devil's horns sign, which is usually seen at a rock or metal concert, while saying "jazz". All three played solos on their respective instruments during their original compositions, and the synchronicity among the trio was memorable to watch.

After them, came the jazz band, 42, comprised of seven members. They have Akash Majumdar on vocals and guitar, Yameen Khan on guitar, Xahid Ahmed on Bass, Towfiq Arifin on drums (who also plays in Robert's trio), Rahin Haider on saxophone, Apurba Mustafa on trombone, and Shaveena Anam on vocals.

42's songs were more upbeat, and automatically increased the energy among the crowd. They started with "Shofukan" by Snarky Puppy. Then they played "Anyone who knows what love is" by Irma Thomas, "Lawn Boy" by Phish, "Red Baron" by Billy Cobham, "Since I fell for you" by Dinah Washington, and "Higher Ground" by Stevie Wonder. They rounded off their set list by covering "Tarova" by Snarky Puppy.

The energetic saxophonist, Rahin, guitarist Yameen, and the beautiful melody of Shaveena's voice were the highlights of 42's Friday performance. Rahin also plays in The Seesaw Quartet, the band that came up next.

The quaint evening came to a close with a performance by Imran Ahmed Trio, where Imran plays guitar with Mohaimin Karim, and Arjo Shrestho plays the drums. They performed compositions titled, "Brazil", "Tico Tico" and "Three".

A fan, Syed Ziaur Rahman Turjo, the percussionist of Miles, told Dhaka Tribune Showtime: "Being a rock musician, you might be thinking what I am doing here. But it is music, man! It is a religion in itself. That is why I am here."

When asked if he ever dabbled with jazz, Turjo said: "It is a section of music that is very interesting. I, personally, have never explored it. I feel that you have to learn it to be able to play it. Learning does not have any age barrier, so it is never too late to learn. It is always great to appreciate.

"Although, I do improvise a lot. In every show, I improvise and my band members usually go like, 'Hey man! We did not rehearse that.' Then I tell them that I am improvising. However, the improvisation in jazz is of a different style, I think.

“You need to know the ins and outs of jazz. It is not like a GPS, which you turn on and start driving. You have to know where you are going. It is heavy and tough, and not so easy. Because it is music for musicians. You really have to tune yourself down to listen to jazz and appreciate it. That is where I come from," Turjo added.