Mumbai Jazz Artist Niranjan Joshi Releases Solo Piano EP ‘The Placido Effect, Vol 1’
“To believe in the music I make it does take a toll, but the process and journey is amazing,” says the musician
While growing up, music was the farthest thing on the mind of Mumbai-based Niranjan Joshi. Instead, sports took up most of his time as well as dance and video game design. However, at the age of 18, his uncle gave him a CD of legendary classical pianist Daniel Barenboim’s Beethoven Sonatas. Joshi was awestruck by it and immediately enrolled in piano lessons. He says, “Being in Mumbai helped me find really good teachers with whom I studied western classical.” Soon Joshi also caught the jazz bug after hearing the music of late pianist Chick Corea. In 2015 he wound up in Paris studying jazz at the Bill Evans Piano Academy. “This step in my life was the turning point in my career and I am so grateful and lucky,” he says.
Upon his return to Mumbai, Joshi went on to join R&B/jazz group Kimochi Youkai with whom he performed extensively and even released a glossy single called “Round and Round” in 2019. Now, the pianist is ready to showcase his own material in the shape of his debut four-track solo piano EP The Placido Effect, Vol 1.
Although Joshi initially wanted to record the music as a jazz quartet two years ago, his plans didn’t work out and the EP was put on hold. It was only at the top of 2021 that the musician decided to track the songs solo. He says, “Recording a solo piano was also not really on my mind because I had a different set of compositions specially written for a trio setting. But in February things again started going south in our country so it became a sketchy deal to record a trio.” He adds, “Finally at the end of February I decided to record a solo project because I was hell-bent on recording this year because two years is a long time to make your dream come to reality.”
The Placido Effect, Vol 1 opens with the expressive “Voice.” Joshi penned the song during the first lockdown last year but decided to rewrite it before recording the EP. He says, “’Voice’ gives me a sense of growth and allows me to voice my feelings.” The record then moves to the improvised “Me Being Me.” The pianist tells us that he had no melody in mind except for the four-chord structure in the song. “I have always been fond of improvised music and jazz for sure and this track had the opportunity to be myself and improvise,” he says.
The penultimate track “You Being You” is a continuation of the previous song and Joshi shares, “This track really is very close to my heart.” He adds, “It was merely a composition assignment in 2016 given to me by my composition teacher Mr. Joe Makholm and he said, ‘This song has a lot of potential just keep working on it.’ I did exactly that.” The EP then closes with a Brazilian Standard (Música Popular Brasileira) titled “Vera Cruz” written by Brazillian artist Milton Nascimento for his 1968 album Courage. “The melody and especially the harmony of this song is so haunting in a good way. I have always enjoyed playing this song live with musicians but playing solo was a whole different thrill,” says Joshi.
The pianist recorded the EP at Mumbai’s The Audio Guys Institute with Jayakrishnan Nalinkumar, who also mixed and mastered it. Ask Joshi what’s it like being a solo jazz artist in today’s day and age? He says, “I will say it is very hard being a jazz musician because you don’t always get to play the music you really want to play.” He adds, “I believe in listening to your heart and following it with passion. It does take time to reach the destination, but you do reach.” With his music finally out for folks to hear, Joshi is already looking ahead to the future. The pianist says, “The first track of The Placido Effect, Vol 2 will be out in the second week of August.”
Stream ‘The Placido Effect, Vol 1’ on Spotify below and on Apple Music.