Dhruv Ghanekar: Top Jazz Musicians He’s Jammed With
The Mumbai-based composer and Blue Frog co-founder picks his favorite jazz musicians that he’s played with in his career
It’s not enough that Mumbai’s Dhruv Ghanekar pulls double duties as one of India’s top jazz artists and as the co-founder of Blue Frog Mumbai. The guitarist and composer has also jammed with a number of jazz musicians both from India and abroad over the course of two decades. As Blue Frog prepares to celebrate International Jazz Day on April 30th with a lineup featuring India’s jazz music greats, Ghanekar spoke to ROLLING STONE INDIA about some of the artists he has most enjoyed playing with over the years. Says Ghanekar, “I’ve had the privilege of performing and recording with some heavy cats in the music scene. These are some of my favorite moments from over the years.”
Trilok Gurtu is certainly one of the reasons I became a musician. I remember listening to [his 1987 album] Usfret when it first came out and I sank in my chair on hearing the opening notes of “Om.” On his tour in 2011, he asked me to perform one song, but by the end of the night I had played virtually the entire set. Every song that we rehearsed was played at a much faster tempo on stage, and to make matters worse, he completely displaces the rhythms under what you are doing. It was a humbling experience, and one that I still treasure to this date.
Karim Ziad and Linley Marthe
Karim is a great composer in his own right, and Linley is a monster bassist. I recorded with these amazing musicians in Paris for my album Voyage recently. Both of them used to be members of [late Austrian jazz composer] Joe Zawinul’s band, and they really brought their A-game to the table at the recording session. We spent two days tracking some tunes and it was awesome to hear those tunes come alive with their playing!
Louiz Banks is someone who I’ve known about since I was six years old. He’s been a huge source of inspiration for me. He has single handedly raise the standard of music in this country for well over 35 years, and playing with him is always a joy.
Raul is an incredible singer and songwriter, but he’s underrated as a guitar player. I had a chance to not only record with him, but to jam with him at Blue Frog as well. It was not only one of the best concerts we’ve ever had, but I got a chance to play with him as well!
Again, he’s someone whom I have known from a very young age. He was instrumental in my pursuing music as a career as he constantly offered me valuable advice over the years. I have great respect for him for straddling both the studio and live performance worlds with great ease and such a positive attitude! I have performed with Ranjit on so many gigs, our most noteworthy one being the Java Jazz festival at Jakarta, Indonesia in 2010.