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Supriya Nagarajan’s Bollywood Jazz Ensemble at The Sage Gateshead

Written by Latest, Live Reviews, Music

When I first heard that I would be attending the showcase of Supriya Nagarajan’s ‘Bollywood jazz fusion’ band at the Sage, I was intrigued to say the least. Having read through press releases and online information surrounding the newly formed project, I was excited to see and hear how these genres would intertwine.

The evening was kicked off by a small discussion, with Nagarajan introducing the band as well as the inspirations behind the project’s conception. The accolades boasted by the bands members range from PhD level music study to years of multi-instrumentation and performance.

This standard was evident from the very first notes of their opening score, the sharp jazz rhythms blending seamlessly into Nagarajan’s haunting vocals. The band maintained this slick, polished homage to the Bollywood song style throughout the performance, with occasional flashes of jazz improvisation.

Muted jazz-inspired drums, intricate basslines and soulful vocal harmonies created a sound fit for a concert hall

Whilst the venue and audience were relatively small, the mixture of muted jazz-inspired drums, intricate basslines and soulful vocal harmonies created a sound fit for a concert hall. Onstage, the unlikely combination of ages and backgrounds seems to work as one completely fluid unit, feeding off one another’s individual sounds. The excitement of the band towards the project’s experimental nature was clear, each of them enjoying collaborating onstage.

One lone criticism of the performance is simply that this energy, at points, seemed to lead to some slightly over-zealous soloing that retracted slightly from the flow of the showcase. But, in retrospect, this perhaps should be credited, as it simply shows that these performers are truly enthused to showcasing this unique sound.

In short, this is an incredibly immersive concept, which translates well into the modern dialogue of music, both in terms of its viability and relevance.

Last modified: 26th January 2018

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