Jazz Goa interview with Colin D’Cruz virtuoso jazz bassplayer from India.
JG: What exactly attracted you to Jazz in the first place?
CD: The sound of music attracted me to jazz. Even before i knew what it was all about, i tripped on the sound of music i heard around me on record/radio/live
sometime in the latter half of the 20th century BDJ (Before Disc Jockey).
JG: What was the first Jazz track you heard? Was it hooked at first sound?
CD: I cannot really remember the first track but i distinctly remember ‘swing’ music playing on a record player at home. The music made me want to swing in my nappy like tarzan boy.
JG: How did you decide to become a Jazz musician?
CD: I decided to be a musician when i first got to see live bands perform as a kid. I used to listen to music at home and then i suddenly saw where it all came from. There was some kind of magic taking place on stage and i wanted to be a part of the magic. Details about why i decided to play jazz is at the end of this interview.
JG: Name some of your all-time favourite Jazz tracks and musicians.
CD: Some could easily include a few thousands, there’s too much of great music and musicians hapenning all the time throughout history, geography and chemistry. One of my biggest influences though, was a bassplayer by the name of ‘Jaco Pastorius’, he made history, geography, chemistry and some biology of bassplaying aswell.
JG: Where did you study to be a Jazz musician?
CD: I started playing music by ear. Before i learnt my third chord i’d already played my fourth gig! So you can say i’ve learnt on the job. It’s only after i decided to play professionally that i tapped myself on the shoulder and told myself ‘buddy you’d better know more about what you’re going to spend the rest of your life with’ and that’s when i got hold of books that taught me to read music. Once i had the rudiments together, i used whatever instruction books i could lay my hands on to enhance my musical vocabulary. Most of my jazz study came from ‘listening’ to great jazz artistes.
JG: How does a regular day of practice go?
CD: No regular practice routine. The first ten years of my professional life as a musician was spent on resident band contracts at five star hotels. I was playing six nights a week with some great nightclub
bands. And yes, i practiced on the job aswell, always trying out a new way of playing the same old…
JG: Do you think that Jazz has an educated and devoted fan following in India?
CD: Sure, and some uneducated and undevoted following as well. Jazz happens to be music and one does not have to be educated or devoted to enjoy anykind of music. One just has to acquire a taste for a particular type of music. I got hooked onto jazz without really knowing what it was all about. All i knew at that time was what i was listening to not only sounded cool it also made me feel cool!
JG: Describe the highs and lows of performance?
CD: As a live performer you are only as good as your last gig. This keeps me on my toes. There’s this constant need to move to the next level. My best is always yet to come! The highs come from a jazz gig well played to a receptive audience, the lows come from a jazz gig well played to an audience that has an acquired taste for bollywood music.
JG: How long have you been a Jazz musician? What is the name of your band? What kind of music is the mainstay of your repertoire?
CD: I’ve been playing jazz even before i knew it was jazz. I always wanted to play any tune i learnt my own way. I wanted to ‘improvise’ the keyword to jazz. I’ve never worked with just one band or one set of musicians and that’s the reason why today i’m probably the only jazz musician in the country who’s played with almost every other living jazz musician on the local circuit. My current ensemble ‘Jazz Junction’ features ‘floating singers/soloists’ so the front for the band is always different and the sound of the band always changes with every gig. Some of my bands can be
reviewed at http://www.hullocheck.com
JG: Please feel free to add any other information you choose.
CD: Here’s something i’ve written that explains why i am a jazz musician..
Q. What is the difference between a pizza and a jazz musician?
A. A pizza can feed a family of four!
What is it about jazz that makes a jazz musician stick to a form of music that A&R managers have scientifically and suspiciously proven to be a musician’s surest route to death by starvation? One
good reason would be the fact that jazz allows me to be myself as opposed to pop that wants me to be Madonna. I would rather be me than strut onstage wearing conical jocks. I remember a male indipop album released by some genius A&R manager, titled ‘mai bhi Madonna’ (i’m Madonna too). Jazz as you will see, and if you’ve heard about ‘mai bhi Madonna’, helps me retain my individuality and what’s left of my sanity in this big mad world of music marketing. Jazz, the most open, alive and evolving form of music, is the medium i choose to communicate and express myself musically. I know a lot of people in the audience may not understand my intense shoobee-doo-wop, shoobee-doobee-doo-wop and emotive twidlee-didlee, didlee-doo-dah along with some sensitive chaka-chaka, shaka-dish-boom-thaak. But there’s always the few who can ‘feel’ what they can’t figure. Most of the time the message i communicate may read ‘hey brother, how about a loan..i’m broke again’ but when i have an audience enjoying my music, i feel like a millionaire.