India Today

Could you take us through the structure and flow of your solo piano concerts in India, at which you will pay tribute to some of your heroes? How has each of them inspired or influenced you?

I don’t have a fixed set list for my solo concerts. I keep trying different combinations of pieces in motion. I have been experimenting with “mashing together” composers from different eras. For instance, Mozart and Gershwin – – or Scarlatti and Jobim. It’s a constant experiment.

That’s how I continually learn and grow, by studying the artists that inspire me and continuing to experiment with new combinations.

You will also be performing some iconic compositions of your own. How do you, one of the most prolific musicians of his time, go about putting together such a set list? What are the songs you can never leave off?

It’s different each night. The audience’s atmosphere contributes a lot to my performance and choices of what to play.

Most often of course you perform with other musicians. What do you look for in a band member or collaborator?

I like to be inspired and learn from my musical partners. This is valuable.

Genres have no meaning for you. As a composer, how would you describe your musical philosophy?

One’s view of beauty and ugliness are one’s own. Mine and others. There are no boundaries and the rule is freedom of choice.

Your music has been infused with sounds from around the world. Has Indian music been an influence at all?

The ongoing raga is like African drumming and Middle Eastern chanting. A music that continues without looking back. John Coltrane expressed this sense so beautifully. It can be a meditation – but can also be simple a point of view.

Finally, could you tell us a little about the jazz documentary you’re making that will cover its history from 1947 onwards? What can viewers expect and when and where is it likely to be out?

I observe that all “histories” are from 1 viewpoint only. When you read a history book, there is one author – his view of what happened. The old adage of several people standing at an intersection – then seeing a car accident – all telling wi.dly different versions of what happened – shows the way “history” actually is. So what I want to document is how jazz and music developed during my life by capturing conversations between the musicians themselves. You will then see so many different points of view about the same thing. This is reality, and what a true sense of history is to me. The working title is “Through Chick’s Eyes.” It’s planned as 8 long episodes taking the viewer through my and my friends’ experience through my life.

Thanks for your questions and interest,