Bombay Black were billed along with Kailash Kher for some reason. The crowd consisted of 10 people who were interested in the music and 300 nearby slum dwellers out for an evenings entertainment. Bombay Black started out with Seal's 'Crazy' and then some RHCP song but were cut short by the appearance of Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deshmukh, who graciously graced us with an impromptu drum solo. We were then treated (!!!!) to an hour and a half of Kailash Kher singing, which is not a bad thing in itself since he sings quite well, but being backed by some of the finest musicians in the city who could play his songs in their sleep was quite sad. Gear sighting: Paresh Kamat playing a Variax into a Pod XT Live...completely authentic acoustic tone on a few songs. Kurt Peters kicked ass too but was bored throughout.
Due to the absence of the drummer CM, the barricade was moved forward and we were closer to the stage. First up was Advaita, who had Kurt Peters on drums again, a Carnatic violin and mridangam player and a guitarist who played a Roland MIDI-equipped Les Paul into a Fender Tweed with a tone-rolled down jazz tone. They played pretty standard Shakti-type Carnatic jazz, except that the guitar player didn't fall into the cliche of playing sliding Carnatic solos but had a very Chet Atkins/Tal Farlow type vibe. After around an hour of this, they called Ranjit Barot and another mridangam player on stage for 15 minutes of extremely masturbatory percussion solos. Nice gig overall.
Next up was the Amit Heri band. For those not in the loop, hes an NY based jazz guitarist who composed the music for Mahesh Dattani's Morning Raga. He was accompanied by Ranjit Barot on drums, Dayamani (I think) on carnatic vox, Charlie Mariano on sax (he's one of the last bebop greats alive, having played with Charles Mingus and Dizzie Gillespie) and some Israeli teenager on bass, who frankly was out of his depth and intimidated by the other maniacs on stage with him.
Gear sighting: Some green looking flame maple superstrat with Floyd Rose and the Roland MIDI pickup.
This was possibly the best jazz gig I've heard in my life. Fantastic taste, insane musicianship (Barot is right up there with Terry Bozzio and Dave Weckl IMHO) and they didn't fall into any cliches.
The first song was in Raag Kalyani, with a very tasty ring modulated Scott Henderson tone and very Holdsworth-like chords and soloing.
The next song was in 5/4 and called Elephant Walk and lived up to its name with a very swinging vibe. Absolutely spellbinding sax solo.
The next song had Heri on nylon string, and sounded like a Larry Carlton or Pat Metheny song. Very smoky and dreamy sounding.
Next up was 'Sweet 17' which was-surprise, surprise-in 17/16, and actually grooved even in that time signature. Heri shredded it up on this one, playing blindging scale runs with a nasty, Strat-y tone. Completely kick-ass.
I'm afraid I've forgotten the last song:-(. Ranjit Barot played an inhuman drum solo on this one.
All in all, an excellent gig and kudos to the Kala Ghoda fest for making it free, despite the lack of popular interest. Even the street kids had fun..they said 'aur baao' whenever Barot freaked out. Also he broke at least 3 drumsticks in the show with his relentless pounding.
Can't wait for the Dhruv Ghanekar and Dominic Miller gig on Thursday and the Ibanez clinic on Sunday.