HomeAmericasCommunitySounds At Stanford Jazz Festival: Creative And Unforgettable

Sounds At Stanford Jazz Festival: Creative And Unforgettable

Sounds At Stanford Jazz Festival: Creative And Unforgettable

Sounds At Stanford Jazz Festival: Creative And Unforgettable

Photo: Kishore Seshadri

By Poonam Kakodkar

PALO ALTO, CA – The Stanford Jazz Festival, held on June 23 at the Dinkelspiel Auditorium, was an unforgettable event. Headlined by vocalist Mahesh Kale and saxophonist George Brooks, the evening also featured Grammy-winning percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram, pianist Frank Martin, bassist Kai Eckhardt, and drummer Scott Amendola and the synergy of musical talents captivated the audience from start to finish.

Brooks’ joyous opening piece, “McCoy,” instantly warmed up the crowd. A mesmerizing jugalbandi featuring Selvaganesh Vinayakram on the kanjira and drummer Scott Amendola showcased the musicians’ unparalleled skill and chemistry.

Mahesh Kale took the spotlight with an 800-year-old composition by Sant Ravidas, “Abhigath Nath Niranjan,” blending spirituality and soulfulness. His rendition, enriched by personal anecdotes, added depth to the spiritual journey shared with the audience. The debut of Kale’s rendition of the ghazal “Toh Kya Yeh Tay Hai,” based on a poem by Suroor Barabankvi, was a highlight. This genre, known for emotive and poetic lyrics, found new life with Kale’s delivery, complemented by Brooks on the piano.

Kale’s performance of a bandish based on the Carnatic raga Amritavarshini, a composition of his own creation, was another highlight. This expressive piece showcased Kale’s vocal prowess and the talents of his students Prajwal, Rohan, and Aditi, who joined him on stage for a captivating musical dialogue.

The grand finale was a truly interactive experience as Kale invited the audience to join him in singing raag Ahir Bhairav followed by “Pibare Rama Rasam,” a beloved song for its spiritual depth. The auditorium resonated with melodious echoes of devotion, encapsulating the essence of unity through music.

At the ‘Stanford Jazz Festival: Indian Jazz Journey,’ music became a bridge connecting hearts and souls, transcending language and cultural barriers. Kale and Brooks delivered a mesmerizing performance, blending Indian classical music with the improvisational flair of jazz. Kale’s soulful vocals resonated alongside Brooks’ evocative saxophone melodies.

The ensemble was elevated by the virtuosity of Grammy-winning percussionist Selvaganesh Vinayakram, whose rhythmic intricacy added layers of depth. Selvaganesh made his debut performance, leaving an indelible mark with his virtuosity and creativity.

Carnegie Hall pianist Frank Martin enriched the performance with his nuanced keys, complemented by the prodigious bassist Kai Eckhardt’s dynamic grooves. Grammy-nominated drummer Scott Amendola provided a steady pulse, anchoring the ensemble’s adventurous musical explorations. Together, they created a transcendent musical experience, weaving together diverse traditions into a cohesive and unforgettable evening of music.

The ICMA Foundation’s mission to promote Indian classical music on a global stage facilitated a platform where traditional Indian melodies intertwined harmoniously with the improvisational ethos of jazz.

Reflecting on the evening, Kale shared, “My favorite moments are when I get people to sing, people from different backgrounds, many of them non-Indians, and to make them sing Indian music with so much love and passion is beautiful.” His ability to connect diverse audiences through music underscores his role as a performer and cultural ambassador.

Kale continues his musical journey with “Abhangwari” on June 30 at the BMM 2024 Convention, promising another unique experience celebrating the timeless devotional essence of Marathi ‘Abhangs.’

Share With:
No Comments

Leave A Comment