Get ready for some jazz-matazz

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.

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