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“It’s said that there are 400 songs that a jazz singer should know if he is of any consequence," says Mumbai-based Joe Alvarez, who will be performing with his group Trident Jazz Trio at the fourth Delhi International Jazz Festival, starting on Friday in the Capital.

For the past three years, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), the festival organizer, has been bringing jazz artistes and newer styles to the Capital. This year, it’s the myriad international acts that will be grabbing eyeballs over the next three days. The event will host 10 groups from countries like France, Hungary, Poland, Colombia, Canada, South Korea, Spain, and the US, apart from India.

The Colombian embassy will be bringing Tres Butacas (or Three Chairs), comprising Pedro Acosta (drummer), Kike Harker (bassist) and Camilo Vásquez (vocalist), on Day 2 of the festival. The trio will present “(new compositions) Los Pajarillos of Popocho, the bass swinguero, and their usual Rio Cali and Porro Bumangues (www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6rRy-88zE0)—that represent much of Colombian music", says Vásquez, adding, “In Colombia there is a strong movement of jazz: classic, fusion, avant-garde, and experimentation with traditional folk." The band’s influences include Chick Corea (pianist), Miles Davis (singer) and John McLaughlin (guitarist), and their sound is a heady mix of local rhythms, traditional jazz with bolero, Colombian folk and Brazilian music. Vásquez says, “Jazz is the most fun way to play music; it alone has the ability to play with all the other genres: classical, pop, etc."

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South Korea’s Modernhan

Ari Roland Quartet (the US), Smarton Trio (Hungary) and bass guitarist Anthony Braganza’s Delhi-based Goan Indo jazz band Black Slade Jazz Rock Fusion Band will perform on Day 1; the Delhi band will present a mix of traditional, modern, original Indo jazz and Dave Brubeck’s Take Five and songs of the American jazz fusion band Spyro Gyra. On Day 2 hear the eclectic Obara Quartet from Poland, led by composer and alto saxophonist Maciej Obara; and the West African-French modern jazz singer Mina Agossi; and on the final day get ready to groove with The PJ Perry Trio (Canada) and the Spanish Ximo Tebar and IVAM Jazz Ensemble.

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Joe Alvarez
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Mina Agossi

Jazz, however, is still fairly niche. As Alvarez says, it has a smaller audience compared to pop. Nonetheless, the scope of festivals like these is far greater. Not only do they bring great musicians from world over on one stage, it’s also a great way for musicians to strengthen networks and create opportunities for collaborations.

The 4th Delhi International Jazz Festival is on from 28-30 March, 6.30pm onwards, at Nehru Park, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. Be seated by 6pm.

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