Archive for July, 2007

Jazz should now be spelt jaaaaaaaaaaaz

July 27, 2007

Hindustan Times-27th June ’07

A little under one hundred years ago, a bunch of American musicians discovered the joys of improvising and called it jazz. Over two thousand years ago, Indian classical musicians were busy laying down the foundation for musical improvisation. If jazz is improvised music, Indian classical music is jazz! Now that we’ve discovered who really discovered jazz, it’s time to take a good look at the state in India. The name of India’s most popular live jazz venue located in Mumbai, tells the story loud and clear. It started as ‘Jazz by the bay’, changed to ‘Not just jazz by the bay’ and should now switch to ‘Just not jazz by the bay’!
Granted, jazz has a niche audience and commercial music rules, but then a few years later, that same commercial music is ruled out while jazz blissfully evolves, embracing all other forms of music along the way. We now have rock-jazz, pop-jazz, funk-jazz, latin-jazz, hip-hop-jazz, indo-jazz… to cut a very long story short, there is a -jazz attached to every genre of music and there will be a -jazz attached ot every genre that comes along. That’s how huge jazz is and it should now be spelt jaaaaaaaaaaz!
Jazz is the medium through which I express myself musically. Jazz allows me to be myself as opposed to pop that wants me to be Madonna. I’d rather be myself than strut onstage wearing conical jocks. In fact, not very long ago a leading music company in India released a male indi-pop star’s album titled ‘Mai bhi Madonna’ (I’m Madonna too) with the man dressed in drag on the album cover. Jazz suddenly began to make profound sense to me. I chose to play bass as I felt it was the coolest sound of music. Rhythm, melody and harmony makes music and the bassplayer is the important link between the three. I may not be upfront or in the spotlight all the time like the singer in the band but I am certainly right behind the song all the way.
It’s been a long, exciting journey into jazz for me. I made a lot of friends as a musician and a whole lot of enemies. I did meet a lot of people. If it wasn’t for my music I would have been a lighthouse keeper on Andaman island or what’s worse, I would have been a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Yes, music helped me get out of my shell and face the world with a song. I currently work on two resident contracts at the JW Marriott hotel with my indo-jazz fusion ensemble called ‘The Brown Indian Band’ for obvious reasons and at night at the Taj Lands End hotel with my band called ‘The Bassman’s Band’ for some strange reason. I often take time off from these two gigs to perform at concerts and corporate events all over India and internationally. One of the highlights of my career so far, has been performing internationally on the world renowned Hennessy XO jazz tour.
My journey into jazz has been fun and my best is always yet to come. To give back to the music that gave me so much, I setup an organisation in Goa called ‘Jazz Goa’ that can be reviewed at After close to three decades of playing jazz with just about every jazz musician in the country, I would have loved to be called the Godfather of Indian jazz. The position has been filled I’m told, so I’ll settle for Godson of Indian jazz!

Checkout some of my bands and music at my website

By Colin D’Cruz


It’s all about jazz

July 27, 2007

Hello Panjim interview with Colin D’Cruz-one of India’s most accomplished jazz musicians.
HP- Tell us something about yourself.
CD- I’m a Mumbai goan looking forward to being a Goa goan very soon. I’ve reached two important milestones in my career. One is, after decades of playing everyone elses music i’ve development a style of my own and the biggest compliment I get these days is when someone recognizes my bassplaying on some tune they heard somewhere, they call up to confirm and..voila! The other milestone is probably every musicians dream, to produce music out of my own studio. A dream that will come true for me within this year when I setup my own state of the art studio in Sangolda. I’ve also setup an organisation called Jazz Goa with the help of fellow musicians and jazz enthusiasts in Goa.

HP- What drew you towards jazz?
CD- Jazz is a huge word, it should be spelt jjjaaaazzzzz! Seriously though, I think jazz is the most open, alive and evolving form of music that allows a musician to be him/herself. Most other forms of music demands a musician to follow trends and tradition or create stuff that’s currently hip. Whereas a jazz musician goes about his business listening, assimilating and finally innovating with yet another genre of jazz! We now have dixiland-jazz, swing-jazz, bebop-jazz, funk-jazz, rock-jazz, pop-jazz, fusion-jazz, latin-jazz, indo-jazz, mando-jazz… to cut a long story short, there’s a -jazz attached to every genre of music. And there will be a -jazz attached to every genre that comes along. I’m a musician who’s atracted to anything that looks, feels, smells, tastes and even sounds like music, so naturally I choose jazz as I get to play it ALL.

HP- What sets apart jazz music from other genres?
CD- Jazz is the only form of music that embraces all other forms and it is no longer American music. Today jazz can safely be called world music.

HP- What led you to become a jazz artiste?
CD- From amoung all the different genre’s of music I grew up listening to, for some reason it was always jazz that struck those extended chords within me. I could always hear the human and very often super human element in a jazz rendition.

HP- Your favourite jazz aristes/tracks.
CD- You’ll need to extend this interview by a few thousand pages to answer that. My all time favourite however was a bassplayer called Jaco Pastorius who revolutionised bassplaying taking bass right upfront, over, under and right through a song.

HP- To whom would you attribute your credentials as a jazz musician?
CD- To everyone i’ve worked with and everyone I would like to work with someday.

HP- Where and how did you train to be a jazz artiste?
CD- I have no formal training in music, I learnt music listening to other musicians, assimilating what I liked and using it consiously or subconsiously in performance until i developed a style of my own. Once I decided to play professionally though, I did study the technicalities through some great music books that are easily available these days.

HP- How do you prepare for a gig?
CD- I make sure there’s enough soda to go with the whisky…just kidding! It depends, if it is a concert where I would be performing my own compositions, I get the tunes composed, then get the band to rehearse and sound the way I heard it in my head. As it often turnsout, input from the rest of the band takes the tune to a dimension I would never have imagined. So you see, music is all about connecting and collaborating, don’t believe any of those fantastic one man bands. They’re faking it for monetary reasons, not that I have anything against it. All is fair in love, war and music.
HP- Talking about gigs, where and when did you first perform/how long have you been into jazz?
CD- Like most musicians I first got into music with school/college bands. I then graduated into fivestar hotel resident bands whose repertoire was made up mainly of jazz standards. I did that for ten years, playing music every night made me a musician.

HP- What is the jazz scene like in India, and Goa in particular?
CD- The jazz scene in India, Goa or anywhere in the world is the same. There’s a niche group of performers and listeners that grows all the time. Hopefully with jazz’s open armed evolution, it will grow into the global sound of music.

HP- What have been your highs and lows in your career thus far?
CD- The highs have always been the applause at the end of a track performed, the lows would be finding out that the applause was actually for the sixer Sachin hit on the big screen just besides the stage at Jazz by the Bay in Mumbai.

HP- How would you explain your role as a jazz musician in society?
CD- A jazz musician gives people a nicer high than some other interesting social highs.

HP- Define jazz.
CD- Jazz is improvised music. Sometimes structured, sometimes orchestrated, sometimes free of form and almost always, spontaneously created.

HP- Notable gigs/performances.
CD- The world reknowned Hennessey XO jazz tour has always been featuring jazz artistes signed by the American Blue Note label. Last year for the first time a jazz band outside the label, from far away India, was selected for this prestigious international tour. I was the bassplayer for that band. An unforgettable experience for sure. More recently my indo-jazz fusion band ‘The Brown Indian Band’ has been approached to open for Sting’s European tour this year. Fingers are crossed about that one.

HP- Collaborations with other musicians.
CD- I am contineously collaborating with musicians from all over the world thanks to the internet and my website

HP- I understand you have been into different genres of music and worked with various ensembles. Tell us more.
CD- As I mentioned it before, when it comes to music I want it ALL. Name the genre and chances are, i’ve been there. You’ll find traces of just about every genre in my own music. There are very few musicians in the world today, who would match the number of bands and musicians I have worked with.

HP- Currently performing at…
CD- I currently perform on two resident contracts in Mumbai at the JW Marriott hotel in the afternoons and the Taj Lands End hotel in the nights. I also take timeoff from these two gigs to perform at concerts and corporate events in India and abroad. So that averages some sixty gigs a month!

HP- Your hobbies/interests…
CD- My main hobby and interest is my profession today. Everyone else works for a living, I play for mine. Someone once told me ‘All play and no work makes…makes me tick!’ Seriously though, I am very keen on improving the plight of most goan musicians in Goa. I was one sometime ago so I should know the raw deal most of them get. My plan is to set up Jazz Goa as an umbrella organisation for not just jazz but all the other immense artistic talent in Goa. To start with my studio in Sangolda will record and produce deserving artistes. Jazz Goa will then launch the best from there at a global level. Jazz Goa has already produced four audio CD’s and a DVD that is available in Goa exclusively at Vibes Music in Margao and online at

Interviewed by Basil Pinto

Brown Indians add a sting

July 27, 2007

Hindustan Times-27th december ’06

They have carved a niche in India and they are out to make a mark in Europe now. The Brown Indian Band is all set to wow 18 cities across that continent next year. And their European adventure comes with a rare honour for any Indian band: In April 2007, when the band rocks Europe, they will actually be doing so as the opening act for the legendary singer Sting in a series of concerts.

It all started at JW Marriott hotel, where the band has been playing regularly since April. ” After a particular peformance sometime ago, a guest walked up to me with an irresistable offer: he said he could put me through to Sting, and that the rock icon was looking to perform with an Indian band,” recalls Colin D’Cruz who plays fretless bass with the group.

Of Course, the band members are overwhelmed. “It’s a huge honour, says D’Cruz. “We will perform our own compositions at the concerts including the popular number ‘Mumbai Jumbo’. Right now we are in the process of working out the details with Sting’s agent.”

The band which D’Cruz leads, also includes Dhiraj Kapadia on bansuri, Jayesh Dhargalkar on percussion and Tony Dias on keyboards. For the Sting tour, the band will be joined by two exponents of Carnatic music-Hari kumar on violin and Subramanium on percussion.

The band which started in 1994, is known for its world fusion music where it brings together the best of Indian classical and jazz music.

On the band’s name, D’Cruz says: “There are Red Indians. But, had Christopher Colombus got his navigation right, he’d have discovered us, ‘brown Indians’ first! We feel it’s high time we take pride in our skin colour.”

All the best, guys.

By Anupam Prathary

In Mumbai, even jazz gets the blues

July 27, 2007

DNA-1st December ’06

Just outside the gates of the JW Marriott you will hear dhinchaak rickshaw beats, angry traffic honks and abuses. But in the cosy hotel lobby, for a few hours every Wednesday through Saturday, you can get away from the din and lose yourself in the improvisations of The Brown Indian Band, the resident outfit that plays fusion jazz.

Colin D’Cruz, the band’s bassist, reminisces about the good old days in the late ’70s, when he played jazz every night in restaurants and hotels dotting Churchgate and Colaba.

“In Goa, over the next two months, the stretch between Calangute and Baga sees about 3,000 live music performances every night,” says D’Cruz. “Mumbai was once like that, with jazz playing at Gaylord, Oberoi, The Taj, Berry’s, Venice, Talk of the Town and more.” Of these, the last named, now Not Just Jazz By The Bay, is one of the few to survive. “It should be renamed Anything But Jazz By The Bay,” D’Cruz jokes.

Bombay had a swinging jazz scene from the ’60s till the ’80s. Jazz legends Duke Ellington and Dave Brubeck visited to get in on the action. Prakash Thadani, organiser of Jazz Utsav says, “Now it’s all about fashion shows and brand launches. But before the Page 3 culture hit, people wanted to be seen at jazz concerts.”

Today, you can count on your fingers the places in the city where you can catch a jazz band. Club owners complain about foggy licensing issues that are pulling the plug on live entertainment. Henry Tham, who hosts regular blues nights at his eponymous lounge in Colaba every Thursday, says, “The same police act book that deals with crimes like kidnapping, theft and murder, addresses something as innocent as singing and dancing, as if it’s a crime to have a good time. Is it a crime to sing? Should I need a licence or police permission to dance?”

He explains how the livelihood of musicians is at stake as it is practically impossible for restaurants to host musicians regularly. “We need the same permission as that required for a full-scale concert — car parking, and electrical and fire clearances. The rules are no different for small little bars that want a pianist.”

In Bandra’s Pali Market lies Meldan D’Cunha’s endearing restaurant Soul Fry. Its walls are dotted with jazz memorabilia, including a picture or two of Dizzy Gillespie. It hosted jazz nights twice a month for six years. But for the last few months, it has dined silent.

The culprit: licensing issues. D’Cunha hosted similar nights at Trafalgar Chowk, which also stopped around the same time. Even as he raves about professional rhythm and blues and jazz singer Sonia Saigal, touting her as the best jazz singer in the country, he will also tell you that the market for jazz has shrunk. “The number of jazz concerts in the city has gone down.

The main reason is Hindi pop, with the likes of Himesh Reshammiya making crores of rupees.” Ask him about the future of jazz in the same city where jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli and popular group Shakti have played, and he says, “You can’t open just a jazz café. It won’t work.”

But it may not be all that bad. If Mumbai’s club owners and managers are to be believed, the city’s jazz audience is dotted with newer, younger faces. While the coterie was once restricted to 40-plus old-timers and a handful of expatriates, Tham confirms that he sees many youngsters coming back for more every week. D’Cruz says he is surprised to find the younger lot more interested and informed about jazz, asking for various jazz standards.

But sometimes there can be too much of a good thing, as it is this weekend — the dedicated jazz crowd is going to have to decide between two extremely promising shows on December 2 and 3. Their choices swing between Jazz Utsav 2006 and Bunny Brunel & the Jazz All Stars.

The organisers of both shows have expressed regret over the clash of dates. Says Thadani, “Jazz Utsav might draw more people because it is a free event, but the fact that the other event is on the same night is very sad for the jazz crowd in Mumbai.

It’s disheartening that jazz lovers will have to choose.” While Neil Rodrigues, general manager of Pulz, host of the Bunny Brunel gig, says, “Those familiar with the artists will make sure they come, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I would also have loved to be there for the Jazz Utsav, but unfortunately they clash.” But perhaps this will boost the minuscule jazz scene, and the tribe of usual suspects turning up at all the shows will increase.

By Riddhi Parekh

Daniel Pearl’s jazz tunes

July 27, 2007

Mid-Day-16th November ’06

Soul Fry at Bandra, may be known for its Crispy Bombil Fry and Karaoke nights, but now the watering hole has another special to add to their board.

Angelina Jolie will be shooting part of A Mighty Heart, a film based on slain journalist Daniel Pearl’s life, at the restaurant.

“It’s true,” says owner Meldan D’Cunha. He is, however, unaware of the dates. “The unit is still in the process of obtaining a shooting permit,” he says.

“This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship,” guitarist Colin D’Cruz and D’Cunha had told themselves when they first met Pearl, an “easygoing” music lover, who sat alone at the bar and swayed his head to the sound of soulful jazz, in 1999. It started with nights of blues and beer and a chase to Goa before it was brought to an abrupt end.

D’Cruz recalls how Pearl listened to his band Jazz Junction’s performance with interest.

They got talking and D’Cruz invited Pearl to jam with the band, which later became a regular feature at Soul Fry. “He used to play the Blues with his unique violin, to which he had added a fifth string for bass. He never adhered to a single Blues artist,” says the musician.

A few months later when Pearl shifted base from Paris to Mumbai with his wife Mariane, he discovered that D’Cruz was playing in Goa. “He followed me to Goa so that his wife could listen to us!” laughs D’Cruz.

But it was only when D’Cunha and D’Cruz visited the couple’s Malabar Hill house, on Mariane’s birthday that they realised Pearl’s passion went beyond jazz. “He had CDs from all over the world and expensive recording equipment in his house. That’s when he told me, ‘journalism pays for my real passion’,” recalls Colin. His wife too was a percussion enthusiast.

After Pearl left for Pakistan, they kept contact through e-mails, before Pearl disappeared. Naturally, they were devastated when they read about his death. “But we will always have Soul Fry,” they say.

By Kanika Parab

Jazzing it up at lands end

July 27, 2007

DNA-3rd November ’06

Famed as probably the only musician in the country to have played with over ninety different live music ensembles globally, Colin D’Cruz is a familiar figure on the local live music scene. Rolling out a wide and impressive repertoire of instrumental nightclub standards with the other members of the band: Jimmy Divecha and Ashton Colaco on saxophones/flute, Beven Fonseca on piano/keyboards, Ian Enthiado on drums/percussion, the Bassman’s Band has a reputation that precedes it.

Beat the blues with some classic jazz and pop with Megan and the Bassman’s Band, Tuesdays to Sundays, 7.30pm to 11.30pm at the Atrium Lounge, Taj Lands End. Tuesday to thursday the band performs a wide range of instrumental nightclub standards as well as improvised funk jazz. On Friday and Saturday Australian singer Megan Perry sings pop and rock along with some of her own compositions. Listeners are enthralled by her sensational, soulful voice.

Jimmy Divecha, one of Mumbai’s jazz veterans, also plays popular tunes from different countries around the world. Ashton Colaco is one of the few young sax players in Mumbai. Beven Fonseca is sure to wrap audiences with his symphonic piano. Stirring up different beats on the drums is Ian Enthido, who has been playing professionally since the age of eight. After moving to Mumbai from the Middle East, Ian has performed as a member of backup bands for some of India’s greatest artistes.

You can now pep up your evenings at the Atrium Lounge at Taj Lands End with live jazz as you catch up with an old friend for a drink, for a business meeting or just relaxing over a cup of coffee.

Megan and the Bassman’s Band will love to keep you entertained.

By Mewati Sitaram

Get ready for some jazz-matazz

July 27, 2007

Hindustan Times-1st November ’06

From learning the piano at the age of five in Maryland, to playing the lead guitar with his progressive rock band Quactus back in Loss Angeles, to standing in que to buy a Mumbai local train ticket from Chusrchgate to Goregaon for a sarod class, Gabriel Weiner has travelled a considerable distance with his music. This 26-year-old performs at Starters & More today along with city jazz veteran Colin D’Cruz and his band Jazz Junction. D’Cruz is one of the reasons why weiner is down in India. As research for his doctorate thesis on the influence of jazz in India. Weiner has a few local musicians on his research list and Mumbai, Goa, Delhi, Kolkata and Chennai on his travel map.

“My professor put me in touch with Colin and Niranjan Jhaveri. We’ve been exchanging emails and this is the first time iv’e met them,” says Weiner. He’s also eager to meet percussionist Taufique Qureshi and classical vocalist Dhanashree Pandit. However this dissertation isn’t his introduction to Indian culture. Weiner, who has a masters degree in jazz guitar performance, has been learning to play the tabla for about two years and also knows basic Hindi.

He continues his tabla classes in Mumbai and is also tudying with a sarod player. “You can play fixed notes on the guitar but on a sarod, you can slip between notes and the Indian instrument is subtler in its articulation and embellishment. I want to pick up that style and incorporate it into my guitar playing,” he says. His fascination with Indian music, he says, has influenced his compositional writing, as well as his improvisational style.

So far, having spent all his time between the NCPA library and his tabla and sarod classes, Weiner is set to give his first official performance in the city today. He’s played and recorded in several jazz conbos, big bands and jammed at blues bars in LA, he now gets his first taste of performing in front of an Indian audience.

D’Cruz, who is the resident bass player at JW Marriott and Taj Landsend hotels and plays regularly at Starters & More says “Gabriel is an accomplished jazz guitarist. My band normally features blowers as there are very few jazz guitarists in the country, so this will be a treat for local musicians and audience.” Besides American jazz and blues influenced music, Weiner says, the band will even play some Latin jazz.

Bass instinct

July 15, 2007

Timeout Mumbai-28th July ’06
Bass player Colin D’Cruz has lost count of the number of bands he’s played with over the last three decades. however, out of the 50 plus ensembles he’s been part of, he has one clear favourite: the Brown Indian Band, an outfit of floating Hindustani, Carnatic and jazz musicians that he formed in 1994. ” It’s my ultimate outlet for my musicial creativity, where i can say the music is mine,” said D’Cruz.

These days, the fusion band, which currently includes flautist Dhiraj Kapadia, percussionist Sanket Athle and keyboard player Clifton Rodricks, can be heard every afternoon spontaneously improvising to Indian classical ragas at the JW Marriott hotel. That’s a slight shift from their earlier avatar, which performed tuines composed by D’Cruz. both versions are special to D’Cruz because the Brown Indian Band is the only one of his bands that exclusively plays originals.

His other bands include Jazz Junction, and the Bassman’s Band, a new act that starts a one year residency at the Taj Land’s End from August 1. As a result, D’Cruz will go from playing just four to five gigs a month to performing two gigs every day. How did a musician with no family background or formal training in music become mumbai’s busiest live act? By using a combination of talent, hardwork, unbridled enthusiasm, a keen sense of enterprise and canny networking skills.

A self taught musician, 46 year old D’Cruz started performing in school and college bands before graduating to the wedding band circuit. His first break arived in 1980 when jazz pianist Bonny Remedios offered him a spot in his band. d’cruz said that, at that time the repertoire of bands that performed at five-star hotels was “90 percent jazz”, which meant he had to learn on the job. “I developed an ear for music by playing music didn’t know,” said D’Cruz, “I used to take the stage everday and wonder whats going to happen next. ”

For the next ten years he moved from nightclub to nightclub, playing with all the veterans of the Indian jazz scene. “Between 1980 and 1990, i played almost every night, “D’Cruz said. When he ventured out on his own in the early 90’s, D’Cruz dabbled in a variety of genres. He played blues with Blue Genes and Blues Power, fusion with the Brown Indian Band, country witht he Country Funks, pop with Showtime, jazz with Just Jazz, and latin music with Obligato.

Remedios who has continued to perform with D’Cruz over the years, believes the bass player’s versatility is one of the main reasons for his popularity. “He’s not uncomfortable in any genre,” Remedios said. “Thats a talent which not many others have.”

In an environment where where many establishments are doing away with live music in favour of DJs and piped music, D’Cruz has almost magically found a way to stay on stage. Keyboard player Harmeet Mansetta, who began his career playing with D’Cruz, pins the latters longevity down to his never-say-die attitude. “His greatist quality is his tenacity,” said Mansetta. “Colin has always managed to find gigs. he is one person who never gives up.”

Remedios is more candid while talking about his former protege: “He makes his presence felt. He doesn’t shy away from giving his visiting card to people. He keeps fishing and he keeps finding fish. ” D’Cruz is one of the few Indian musicians who have harnessed the internet to promote his music. He runs a frequently-updated website that contains micro-sites to all his bands. It’s helped him get in touch with a number of international musicians, some of whom have performed at jazz Junction’s monthly spot at Starters and More.

But D’Cruz is not just about self advertisement. In the last five years, he has grown into one of the few flag bearers of the local jazz scene in Mumbai and his home state of Goa. In 2000 he set up Jazz Goa along with drummer Lester Godinho and pianist George Fernandez. Jazz Goa is an informal organisation of jazz lovers that promotes local and visiting musicians by organising concerts and releasing live records. d’Cruz himself has released no less than four albums in the last two years (including a self-titled EP by the Brown Indian Band).

D’Cruz says there is a reason why he’s been giving the Energizer Bunny a run for its money: he plans to shift base to Goa to set up his own recording studio. He agrees that Mumbai’s more commercially lucrative but finds Goa both more relaxed and receptive. “It’s like a global village during the [tourist] season,” he said. “You can bump into great musicians from anywhee in the world almost any time. That never happens in Mumbai.”

By Amit Gurbaxani

The world of music

July 15, 2007

Gomantak Times-28th June ’06

On June 21st, people came together to celebrate World Music Day. All over the world, there were concerts and events held, to propagate peace through music.

In essence the term world music refers to any form of music that is not part of mainstream western commercial music or classical musical traditions and which typically originates from outside the cultural sphere of Western Europe. In musical terms, world music can be roughly defined as music that uses distinctive ethnic sounds, usually but not always performed by ethnic instruments of the world.

In Goa, people have their fair share of this music with artists like Remo, Oliver Sean and bands like Shanti. Some of their music could fall under the world music category aswell, with Remo and his flute sharing the stage with some of the biggest artistes in the world like Sting and Jethrotull. Carlos Gonsalves Goan percussionist par excellence and member of Shanti, is all in favour of a World Music day saying, ” This is an opportunity for musicians like us to come together to celebrate and advocate peace and unity in the world. I was watching the concert in the Caribbean where they kept on talking about peace and unity and protesting against the wars of the world. We in Goa, should also should set an example since Goa is global tourist destination.

The Goan virtuoso jazz bassist Colin D’Cruz, who formed the ‘Brown Indian Band’, has an interesting idea. He explains, ” Every country can make a contribution to world music. Goa’s contribution could be the ‘Mando’ incorporated with elements of jazz and sounds of Goa’s ethnic instrument the Ghumot”.

Living in the melting pot of cultures that is Goa, the day is not too far away when world music comes to the forefront in this state.

By Kurt Gidwani

Cruz-ing through jazz

July 15, 2007

Gomantak Times-21st March ’06

Jazz has its own fan following. And any ardent fan of jazz will have heard of the Goan musician Colin D’Cruz. The jazz musician who has been striking the right notes in terms of music has many more reasons to smile as he recently released his album titled Colin D’Cruz-live in concert,
“This album is unique in the sense that it is going to be the first ever compilation CD made up of live recordings of different jazz ensembles that i performed with over the years. The album will be continuously updated with each edition of the CD. I intend releasing a new edition of the same title every year after pulling out some of the tunes and putting in new ones that i will record each year,” says an excited and thrilled Colin.
Colin has produced and released quite a few albums over the years, but this is going to be a first in terms of concept.
Music was his childhood passion. “I decided i wanted to be a musician when i first got to hear live bands perform. I used to listen to music at home and then i found out where it all came from. There was some kind of magic taking place onstage and i wanted to be a part of that magic. I think bass is the coolest sound of music. You can buy a radio for Rs.100 and listen to music but you’ll miss the punch of bass frequencies that a more expensive set will deliver. When i first discovered Hi-Fi sound i was immediately blown away by the bass and when i decided to play music i naturally chose this rich deep sound of music,” says the man who has made music his life. While speaking about his idols, he emphasised, “One of my biggest influences was an electric bassplayer by the name of Jaco Pastorius who revolutionised bass, taking it from an obscure background sound into the spotlight. amoung acoustic bassplayers (upright bass) I have been influenced by a Danish bassist called Neil Hennings Orsted Pedersen and like his name, he was huge,” Colin adds.
For him a bassplayer is part of the rhythm section (keyboards, bass, drums) and they are behind every moment of the song, where as the singer and soloist is only upfront in the spotlit areas of the song. The scope for a bassplayer in todays world of contemprory music is vast, ‘Bassists are free to use all the elements of music-rhythm, melody and harmony, to create a style of their own,” he affirms.
This talented young lad has been a part of not one or two but over ninety different music ensembles since he first started playing. When he was in Goa from 1999 to 2002, he performed with Just Jazz, Obligato and Blues Power bands that he put together along with his long time music associate Lester Godinho who now teaches drums at the Yamaha school of music in Dubai.
Even after so many years of live performance, Colin believes his best is yet to come. He adds, “As a live performer you are only as good as your last gig, I find this exciting, it keeps me on my toes and i’m always reaching for the next level.”
Although he is proud of the chance to perform and tour worldwide with some of India’s greatest artistes like Asha Bhosle, Sonu Nigam and Remo Fernandes, his most recenlty launched album has him anticipating better things to come.
The Goan in him says ” I am tired of being a Goan from Mumbai. I now look forward to being a Goan from Goa. It’s very sad, when the whole world wants to be in Goa most Goans want to be everywhere else.
Having just bought his first apartment in Sangolda, D’Cruz is happy to be back home, “Every window and balcony opens out to lush greenery-an inspiring setting for a musician. I plan on converting one of the three bedrooms into a state-of-the-art audio and video editing studio.” This idea came to him when he bumped into an American film crew in Goa who had to send each days shoot to Mumbai as they could not find decent editing facilities in Goa. “I am excited about moving to goa and working with the immense talent here.
Percussionists like Carlos Gonsalves, Drummer Bosco D’Souza, keyboard wizard Mukesh Ghatwal, Indian classical maestros Yograj Naik, tabla player Saish Deshpande and countless others who are going to kill me as soon as i get to Goa because i haven’s mentioned them here.”

By Arti Das