It’s a shame that jazz doesn’t get as much recognition as it ought to, maybe because it’s looked upon as something middle-aged like to smoke their cigarettes to in a small bar somewhere. But one look at the Foxtrot Project’s making itself will turn that picture around.
Recorded as part of the weekly Thursday Jazz Encounters at Plush Lounge Bar in the Astor Hotel in Kolkata, The Foxtrot Project is all about the most experimental kind of guitar-based jazz. Although the project, started out by Kolkata label Amuze Records last year, intended to include many more artists, we get four artists – the Bodhisattwa Trio, BOP Machine, project: Albatross and the Srinjay Banerjee Trio.
There’s real experimentation and range on The Foxtrot Project, which takes you to trippy and dark places, filling up the spaces as they go along with some mostly smooth jazz, none of those crazy atonal solos. Recorded live, this is the true essence of jazz – one that builds on the art of improvisation. The Bodhisattwa Trio show two faces on the album – starting out with some prog-leaning jazz on ‘Transcendence’ and moving on to one of the darkest jazz tracks by an Indian band we’ve heard, called ‘Heart of Darkness’. BOP Machine turn on the classic charm, adding swing in their song ‘Blues for Charlie’, a tribute to American jazz guitarist Charlie Christian.
Project: Albatross only kick it off by track four of the six-track album, with the light-headed ‘Improvisations/All Blues’, contrasted once again by the haunting closer that’s a bit too plainly titled as ‘Improvisation 2’. Srinjay Banerjee, one of the established jazz musicians in Kolkata, adds more soothing guitars that build up and get broken down softly on ‘Mitosis’, with additional percussion and effects from his trio.
The Foxtrot Project is a good enough premiere of jazz talent in Kolkata, although it could have used a few more artists. Clocking in at 48 minutes, however, we feel like this is a perfect companion to spend an evening at home with – it’ll make you take attention just when you feel like it’s settling.
Thursday Jazz Encounter ft The Foxtrot Project takes place on January 7 at Plush, Astra Hotel, Kolkata. More details on their Facebook event page.