Jazz on the streets


What better place for the annual jazz festival to kick-start other than it’s own Mecca in the Capital? Though the Mecca is one decrepit two-storied building with a maximum capacity to accommodate not more than around 50 people, it was surprising how it made room for over 200 people. And despite the organisers persistent plea not to let in any more people, those who couldn’t sneak in were pleased enough to enjoy the music by the roadside.

The Surya Classic Jazzmandu 2006 kicked-off at Upstairs Ideas, Lazimpat on October 11. The first day featured the Remi Abram Quartet, and Cadenza and Friends. There wasn’t much difference in the music, but it seems every time these guys get together for a jam-up, they attract hordes of fads. The show began at 8:00 pm and as soon as saxophones and trumpets blared, people were engrossed in the heady riffs while they themselves revelled in the spirit of ‘Yo ho ho and a bottle of wine’.

Though there was very little space to gyrate and pirouette to the music, they made do with a little bit of toe tapping.

The Free Jazz session of Jazzmandu 2006 held at Basantapur Durbar Square on October 12 proved a number of things — that Nepalis are a musical people who have the beat and rhythm in their hearts and souls, that as Navin Chettri said “music knows no barriers to spread peace”, and that yes, good music will bring even the busiest of street corners to a halt. This was what was felt on this Thursday eve as people from all walks of life, set aside whatever errand they had been sent out to do, and enjoyed an hour of music.

The Norwegians set the tone of the evening with their take on Circle games and Feet of Clay, which was followed by a jugalbandi (if one may use the word) of three saxophones, trumpet, congas, guitars and the drums that had the crowd numbering hundreds hooting and clapping and cheering and thumping.

The Basantapur Durbar Square was a mass of music lovers and the curious as the people cheered the musicians on to an ear-splitting crescendo. The only dampener was the red-blue-white shades put up anticipating rain that took away from such a historic stage.