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Jazz Guitarist Alex Machacek to Tour India this week

The Los Angeles-based, Austrian Machacek’s Trio performs in Mumbai and Bengaluru

Anurag Tagat Oct 30, 2014
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Alex Machacek. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

Alex Machacek. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

At the end of our interview with jazz guitarist Alex Machacek, we ask him about his site. Best known for his fluid, fusion guitar style with albums like FAT in 2012, Machacek, 42, not only has an FAQ section on his site, but just two questions on it: one about how to pronounce his name [“ma-ka-chek”] and another about how he met drummer Terry Bozzio, who has previously worked with the likes of Frank Zappa, electric bass player Tony Levin, among others. While this is Machacek’s third visit to the country ”“ the guitarist performed in Kolkata 2006 and later in Mumbai and Chennai in 2010 ”“ and there is another question that often pops up in interviews. Says Machacek, “Every time I’m asked about a country, they ask stuff like ”˜Did you get that this country was amazing?’ I got it, it’s amazing. Guess what? I’m married to an Indian, I know exactly how amazing those Indians are!”

Machacek has been working on his own solo material for an album as well as the follow-up to FAT, which stands for Fabulous Austrian Trio, comprising bassist Raphael Preuschl and drummer Herbert Pirker. For his India tour, Machacek has roped in drummer Dana Hawkins [whom he first saw performing with American soul/jazz singer Meshell Ndegeocello] and bassist Rami Lakkis, who is flying in from Dubai for his first show with Machacek. Says the guitarist, “[New York-based bassist] Evan Marien was supposed to play, but he had a tragedy in his family, so he recommended Rami. He’s the emergency sub, but he sounds great. Nowadays, you just look them up on YouTube.” When asked if there’s a risk in choosing players based on just a couple of recorded performances, Machacek laughs, “It’s always very risky. But no risk, no fun, right?”

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The guitarist has previously recorded with jazz fusion drummer Gary Husband [from John McLaughlin’s Fourth Dimension] and virtuoso drummers such as Virgil Donati and Marco Minneman, who are equally well-known for their work with metal bands Planet X and Necrophagist respectively. Says Machacek about his experience jamming with jazz veterans, “When you’re young, you might have a bit of fear, or respect or wrong expectations. With Virgil, I had to learn his music which was really difficult. We met at his rehearsal room. He sent me 10 songs and I could only play six. He said, ”˜That’s okay, let’s just practice them’. Any weird feeling was gone in two minutes.”

The trio perform songs old and new, from Machacek’s upcoming solo album as well as his back catalog, comprising albums such as [sic] and Improvision. Machacek says he usually tries to pick songs that work best as a trio, considering he adds as many layers as he wishes while composing tracks in the studio. Adds Machacek, “When I’m producing them in the studio, I’m going for the outcome and not necessarily what’s playable.”

Alex Machacek Trio India Tour

October 31st ”“ St. Andrews Auditorium, Mumbai. Entry: Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. Buy tickets here.

November 1st and 2nd ”“ Windmills Craftworks, Bengaluru. Entry: Rs 500 (standing), Rs 750 (seated). Buy tickets here.

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Listen to “Why Not?” from FAT here

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