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Kolkatta’s Jazz Fest 2017 brings together popular global acts in contemporary jazz – All you need to know

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Under a starry sky, on the grounds of Kolkata’s Dalhousie Institute, Dizzy Gillespie is performing.

There’s more than just a wintry chill in the air as the audience takes in one of the most legendary Jazz trumpeters of all time. The atmosphere is electric, the excitement palpable and contagious.

Suddenly, from a nearby mosque, a few melodious strains of the azaan waft over, breaking the spell. For a few moments there is hushed confusion; and then Dizzy starts to play in sync with the call to prayer. Far from being rattled by the intrusion, he builds it into his performance. This spontaneous jam embodies the very soul of jazz, which is so much about improvisation, creating a unique magic that attendees will remember for the rest of their lives.

The culture of Jazz in Kolkata

Since one such lucky attendee, city-based blues singer Anjum Katyal, happens to be my mother, I am regularly treated to stories about the Jazz festival that’s been so integral to the Kolkata music scene ever since she was a young girl. The city’s tryst with Jazz dates back to the 1920s and some of the biggest international jazz and blues acts including Herbie Hancock, Erik Truffaz, Bobo Stenson and Jonas Hellborg have played here.

The annual Jazzfest, most recently organized by Congo Square, a non profit society of Jazz lovers formed in 2002, is really popular with residents. For the last few years Varun Desai of Littlei has been the organiser behind it.

As a young(ish) resident of the city I can attest to the fact that the live music scene is a little saturated. Though there is huge talent within the city and the various cultural wings of consulates do organize gigs sporadically, there is nothing to rival this concentrated Jazz feast with its variety of acts packed into a few days. As a result music lovers look forward to it all year round.

The Jazzfest — All you need to know

The Jazzfest takes place in the lawns of the Dalhousie institute, a 150 year old colonial club. Kolkata has a strong club culture, especially in “season time,” which is how residents describe the blink-and-you-miss-it winter where temperatures drop to slightly nippy and sitting outdoors is pleasant. It’s exhilarating to see the diverse crowd the Jazzfest draws. From middle aged regulars to young first-timers standing around in groups sipping their beers as they hang on to every note played, the festival with its relaxed vibe, affordable alcohol and food stalls doing brisk business creates a welcoming environment for all age groups.

Jazzfest 2017 is on 8th, 9th and 10th of December.

Jazz fest

From L to R: Eric Truffaz, Pol Belardi’s Urban 5 and EYM trio. Images from the Jazz Fest website.

Day 1

Kicking off the festival this year is Pol Belardi’s Urban 5 from Luxemburg. Pol is a prolific composer who has mastered multiple instruments and genres from rock to classical orchestra.

Rounding up the first day is Kefaya, who I’m also really curious to hear, because though their music has been described as “guerrilla jazz”, “contemporary world-fusion” and “global protest music,” by nature they defy definition, with a sound rooted in the varied folk music traditions of the world. Formed in the UK by musician-activists Giuliano Modarelli and Al MacSween, they comprise an eclectic mix of travellers, immigrants, and international artists who recorded their debut album while travelling and collaborating with musicians across India, Palestine, Spain, Italy & the UK, transcending boarders to create sounds of resistance.

Day 2

Day two begins with a bang as famed French jazz trumpeter Erik Truffaz performs with Riatsu, a young electronic musician from Mumbai. This unlikely duo should be all the more electrifying because Erik’s tunes are known to incorporate elements of hip hop and dance music.

Next up is Mn’JAM Experiment from the Netherlands who promise to captivate us with a multi-medium performance that blends music and visual arts.

Closing day two is the Florian Favre Trio led by Favre, a jazz pianist and composer from Switzerland.

Day 3

The final day of Jazzfest begins with Cruise Control on Trio, led by Martin Van Hees, a classical guitarist and composer from the Netherlands.

This is followed by the EYM Trio feat. Mirande Shah, a French jazz band made up of pianist Elie Dufour, bassist Yann Phayphet and drummer Marc Michel which offers to “strike a chord between great rhythm and beautiful harmonies”.

Bringing the festival to an end is C.A.R., a four-piece act from Cologne. Blending EDM with Jazz, their music tends to be experimental and ambient.

The schedule brings together some of the best global acts in contemporary jazz. An exciting element this year is the introduction of visuals into some of the performances, which will change the way the audience interacts with the music. I can’t wait for it all to begin.

Tickets available here:


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Kevin Hart hints at rebooting Mrs Doubtfire after starring in Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle

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Kevin Hart might be enjoying the positive response to the Jumanji reboot, Jumaji: Welcome To The Jungle, where he is starring alongside Dwayne Johnson and Jack Black, but the internet might be alarmed by his latest musings, a Mrs Doubtfire remake as reported by NME.

Kevin Hart. YouTube

Kevin Hart. YouTube

“I’ll stay on the Robin Williams train and say that if I could jump into Mrs Doubtfire,” said the actor-comedian in an interview to CinemaBlend. “That was a very amazing performance on both ends for him. I think that’s one I’d love to get to play in,” said Hart.

A reboot of the beloved 1995 Robin Williams hit Jumanji, where the characters got sucked into the world of a board game and have to fight for their survival, had Kevin Hart joining a new adventure, where Jumanji is a video game in its 2017 avatar.

However, since Robin Williams passed away recently and has immortalized the character of Mrs Doubtfire, fans of the film might not take kindly to a contemporary reboot of the film. The role will indeed prove very challenging for any actor to convincingly place himself in William’s shoes.

Perhaps, Hart should stay content with the fate of Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle and not worry about remakes of Robin William’s classics, and perhaps take a cue from fellow actor Jack Black who had chosen to pay his homage to William via less grander pronouncements.

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Ed Sheeran says he already has a James Bond track up his sleeve in case MGM wants one

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Ed Sheeran might have faced a surprising Grammy rebuff this year, but the British singer continues to ride high with two of his singles, one with Beyonce and another with Eminem, competing for the top spot just as the year is ending. Amidst all this excitement, the singer-songwriter has revealed that he already has a James Bond song ready to go in his kitty, in case they need him to do one, as reported by the Independent.

Ed Sheeran. Image from Twitter/@PopCrave

Ed Sheeran. Image from Twitter/@PopCrave

Sheeran appeared on The Late Late Show with James Corden and discussed the possibility of contributing a track to a future James Bond movie. “With Bond, I’ve had a theme tune written for about three years, just in case,” he said, as reported by the Indepndent.

Even though he has not been approached by the makers of the Bond franchise with such a request yet, he said that the song he has already prepared is good but refused to reveal its name fearing someone might steal it.

Sheeran also said in the same interview that he had used the same approach for his song with Eminem. “When we did a song together, I had the song planned. So with Bond, if ever I’m called I’ll be like ‘here you go’,” said Sheeran.

While a reluctant Daniel Craig had recently confirmed that he is once again playing James Bond in the next film, the now unofficial tradition of a reigning music star to lend a soundtrack to the iconic franchise will continue, but who will be the latest artist to bag this coveted opportunity is not yet known. Sam Smith did the honours in the previous Bond outing and was criticised for a weak track that he had claimed he came up with in 20 minutes.

Ed Sheeran sure seems better prepared if he gets a call to compose the Bond track that might even put the talented artist up for an Oscar, perhaps the only recognition eluding the superstar so far.

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Rose McGowan calls out Meryl Streep, other actresses for planning silent protest at 2018 Golden Globes

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Rose McGowan criticised Meryl Streep and other actresses for allegedly planning a silent protest against sexual harassment at the 75th Golden Globe Awards ceremony in January next year.

Multiple sources told People magazine about the protest being organised by prominent Hollywood actresses — including presenters and nominees and it was later confirmed by Claudia and Jackie Oshry on their show The Morning Breath.

Meryl Streep and Rose McGowan. Agencies

Meryl Streep and Rose McGowan. Agencies

However, McGowan was not particularly happy about the ‘silent’ nature of the protest. She took to Twitter to express her dismay.

She wrote: “Actresses, like Meryl Streep, who happily worked for The Pig Monster, are wearing black @GoldenGlobes in a silent protest. YOUR SILENCE is THE problem. You’ll accept a fake award breathlessly & affect no real change. I despise your hypocrisy. Maybe you should all wear Marchesa.”

She has since deleted the tweet.

McGowan, one of the first actresses to accuse fallen movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of rape, decried what she believed was a pervasive culture of sexual misconduct in Hollywood and urged women to fight back. After leveling her accusations against Weinstein, there has since been a torrent of allegations of sexual harassment, assault and rape against a man who had been one of the most powerful people in the film industry. The New York Times has reported that in 1997, Weinstein reached a $100,000 settlement with McGowan, then 23, after an incident in a hotel room during the Sundance Film Festival. As the scandal snowballed, McGowan has emerged as one of Weinstein’s most scathing critics.

When Extra asked Streep for a comment, she replied: “I don’t know. I’m not talking. You gotta tune in, don’t ya?”

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