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Gig Review: Time Wise, Mumbai

The Ahmadabad group played jazz with a refreshing originality and panache

Sunil Sampat Aug 02, 2018

Ahmadabad jazz band Time Wise performing at Experimental Theatre, NCPA. Photo: Narendra Dangiya

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A sextet having two of it’s members named Harmony and Raag have to be a committed musical group!  Ahmadabad jazz outfit Time Wise is such a sextet and they performed at the Experimental Theatre, NCPA in Mumbai on Saturday, July 28th to a packed house. They played jazz with a refreshing originality and panache. Vocalist Harmony Siganporia and guitarist Raag Sethi are indeed two of their band members. The other four members of the band are Nayantara Kapadiya on piano and keyboards, Marc Damania on bass, Harmish Joshi on multiple saxophones and Dhaivat Jani on drums.

However good these musicians were proficient individually, the concert seemed broken into two distinct – and different parts, and in all likelihood not by design. They played almost an equal number of vocal and instrumental pieces and to this writer they seemed to belong to two different jazz sensibilities.  Siganporia is a creative jazz vocalist who wears her (musical) passion on her sleeve and in her song! Technically sound and with a fine range of voice, she was enjoying her singing thoroughly and communicated this to the audience. She sang a wide range of jazz from the music of Bobby Timmons (“Moanin'”), Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz (“Desafinado and The Girl from Ipanema”), Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond (“Take Five”), Chick Correa (“Spain”), Michael Jackson (“The Way You Make Me Feel”), and even Louis Prima from The Jungle Book (“Wanna Be Like You”). All these were sung with a great respect for the original masters with a little something added. She even ventured into the public domain with “Cocktails For Two” which would did due credit to the lyrics. Siganporia also ventured into the esoteric with her version of “You Don’t Know What Love Is,’ rarely, if ever heard in the Mumbai jazz context. She excelled at it!

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In contrast the several instrumental pieces, many of which were originals, while displaying the undoubted skill and proficiency of the five artists sounded as if executed with a clinical  precision. The interaction between them was well practiced through their long association but some of the feel that was evident with the vocal pieces was not experienced in some of these quintet offerings. I would suggest that the inflow of the blues into their band repertoire would go a long way to elevate the performance with their keen interplay.

The saxophone versatility of Joshi was admirable and the introduction into “Take Five” was a brilliant arrangement of a piece that has got perhaps the most exposure of all jazz standards.

Sethi was eloquent throughout and his composition, “Jazz Jam” was most enjoyable. Damania held the sound together on his electric bass and also sang a duet, “The ballad of J&E” with Siganporia. Jani on drums was also in fine form throughout.

Kapadiya excelled on his own composition, “Lights Out” which was played as the final piece of the evening. A brilliant, introspective instrumental, this piece would have even greater impact in the middle of the evening’s performance rather than a finale. An upbeat vocal might have worked better to leave the audience with a high that the concert had undoubtedly provided.

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If Time Wise is ever playing in your vicinity, go and catch the gig. You’ll be happy you did.

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