Gig Preview: Gospel and Blues with Dennis Montgomery in Mumbai
The American pianist will collaborate with Rhys Sebastian,Â Dominique Cerejo and Aleif HamdanÂ at The Quarter this weekend
Growing up in a musical family always has its perks, and for Dennis Montgomery it was the fact that he was making $25 every Sunday when he started performing at his church in Shreveport, Louisiana at the age of nine. The American pianist/organist tells us that he would contribute that fee to his parents and says, â€œI believed that music was my destiny.â€ The virtuoso is now in Mumbai to perform a thrilling blues and gospel show at city-based venue The Quarter on September 22nd.
After attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, Montgomery went on to join as a faculty member there and has since been part of the organization for over three decades. Itâ€™s also where he founded the iconic Berklee gospel choir called Overjoyed. Ask Montgomery what gospel music is to him and he answers, â€œGospel music is important, for the fact that itâ€™s the basis for American music itself. Starting with the Negro Spirituals, the blues and the music of the south. Gospel music is utilized on rhythm and blues, hip-hop, funk, jazz and todayâ€™s pop.â€ He adds, â€œThe origins stem from the Negro Spirituals sung by black slaves working in the fields for whites.â€
The show is part of the Berklee India Exchange program and Montgomery states that he is excited to share his culture and heritage while also learning about Indiaâ€™s diverse culture from music to dance. â€œThis cultural exchange will be a long term quest for me to build communities through our music,â€ he says.
The pianist will be accompanied by Mumbai musicians; saxophonist Rhys Sebastian and vocalist Dominique Cerejo as well as Indonesian guitarist Aleif Hamdan. The set list at the show will include gospel classics including â€œAmazing Graceâ€ as well as covers of blues songs by the likes of B.B.King. On working with Montgomery, Cerejo says, â€œHe is just the nicest, he knew I was feeling a little bit stressed about it and he made me feel so comfortable so quickly. He just said to me â€˜you do your thing; Iâ€™m just going to back you.â€™â€
Cerejo also tells us that this will be the first time that Mumbai is going to hear African gospel music in the most traditional sense. She says, â€œI think the people are going to be delighted, itâ€™s going to be a treat for people who enjoy this music.â€
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