MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL — DAY 8

Please scroll down for Sangam review

CONVERSATIONS: ON TRADITION AND PROGRESS at The Wheeler Centre
with ADRIAN JACKSON, JASON MORAN, SOPHIE BROUS, JOHN McBEATH, SCOTT TINKLER

Post to come

THE CLAUDIA QUINTET at BMW Edge

Post to come

THE MUSIC OF JOHN HOLLENBECK: JOYS AND DESIRES at BMW Edge
with Theo Bleckmann and the Jazzgroove Mothership Orchestra

Post to come

SANGAM: CHARLES LLOYD WITH ZAKIR HUSSAIN AND ERIC HARLAND at Melbourne Town Hall

Opening set: STEPHEN MAGNUSSON / EUGENE BALL DUO

Post to come

SANGAM: CHARLES LLOYD WITH ZAKIR HUSSAIN, ERIC HARLAND and guests

Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain

THE final concert of Melbourne International Jazz Festival was announced as a confluence of three artists, but it ended as much more.

Sangam — the name that saxophone, flute and tarogato player Charles Lloyd, drummer Eric Harland and tabla maestro Zakir Hussain have given their musical collaboration — is Sanskrit for confluence.

But in the spirit of India’s revered meeting near Allahabad of three rivers, one of which — the Saraswati — is hidden, this musical meeting had much to reveal.
It began unpredictably enough, with Lloyd playing elegant, beautiful piano notes to open Hussain’s composition, Guman. Harland joined him at the piano, freeing his drum kit to be occupied by Lloyd on gentle percussion before he took up his alto flute, Hussain responding vocally and on tabla as the piece built in intensity.

Zakir Hussain
Virtuosity: Zakir Hussain

As they moved through Dancing on One Foot, Sangam and Tales of Rumi, all Lloyd’s compositions, virtuosity was paramount. Hussain brought his tablas to life in a dizzying display of dissonant pitches. This was music to feed the body.

Deep emotional fulfilment came during Kuti, when Lloyd’s quartet members Jason Moran and Reuben Rogers joined the confluence unexpectedly, but on cue, to inject new life.

Hussain, Moran and Lloyd
Hussain, Moran and Lloyd

Moran played sensitively on piano as Lloyd spoke excerpts from Lord Krishna’s words in the Bhagavad-Gita on the manner in which an illumined soul lives in the world.

He knows bliss in the Atman
And wants nothing else.
Cravings torment the heart:
He renounces cravings.
I call him illumined.

Not shaken by adversity,
Not hankering after happiness:
Free from fear, free from anger,
Free from the things of desire.
I call him a seer, and illumined.

The bonds of his flesh are broken.
He is lucky, and does not rejoice:
He is unlucky, and does not weep
I call him illumined.

The tortoise can draw in its legs:
The seer can draw in his senses.
I call him illumined.

The abstinent run away from what they desire
But carry their desires with them:
When a man enters Reality,
He leaves his desires behind him.

Reuben Rogers
Reuben Rogers

Hymn to the Mother brought a gradual evolution in mood and pace, beginning with Moran’s eloquent piano, Rogers’ bowed bass and Hussain’s quiet vocals illuminating Lloyd’s fluent sax.

Lloyd illumined as Moran plays.
Lloyd illumined as Moran plays.

The encore, The Blessing, saw Lloyd attain new heights in his standout solo for the evening. Moran’s piano was exquisite and Harland, with one stick and a tambourine, showed great sensitivity.

Charles Lloyd
Standout solo: Charles Lloyd

This was a fitting end to a festival with many highlights. The only thing to do after such a sangam was to go home and replay the experience deep within the soul. It was akin to discovering the Saraswati River.

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