Jazz music: “Jazz’ing up Bollywood”


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Jazz music has been an integral part of the Hindi film industry since the early 1950s, a time also known as the golden age of film music. The unmistakable accents of the wind instruments “trombone, trumpet, saxophone and clarinet as well as piano, guitar and drums” would bring the genre to life with beautiful, seductive and catchy melodies. Master composers like Shankar-Jaikishan, Madan Mohan, OP Nayyar, SD Burman and Salil Chaudhury worked in tandem with the Goan musical arrangers of the time, including Anthony Gonsalves, Frank Fernand, Chic Chocolate and Sebastian D’Souza, for create some of the most unforgettable jazz influenced songs in Hindi cinema history.

Foray into cinema

Jazz was the pop music of its time. From 1920 until the 1960s, he featured heavily in the West. Composer Dhruv Ghanekar says: “After independence, many Indian Anglo-Saxon musicians studied jazz harmony. As film music grew and became mainstream in the 1950s, many of those musicians who performed in jazz clubs and hotels began to turn to the industry to supplement their income.

Dhruv adds, “Many composers have hired them to create orchestrations and arrangements for their melodies. In the 60s and 70s, RD Burman, strongly influenced by Latin and jazz harmonies, worked with famous arrangers such as Kersi Lord and Louis Banks.

Of my time

One of the most refined genres to play with, jazz lent itself wonderfully to Indian music. Gore Gore O Banke Chhore (Samadhi 1950), Shola Jo Bhadke (Albela, 1951), Babuji Dheere Chalna (Aar-Paar, 1954), Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu (Howrah Bridge, 1958), Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi, 1958) and Dil Deke Dekho (1959), are a few examples.

Vocalist Shibani Kashyap said, “RD had a lot of jazz flavor in his music. In her song Jane Jaan Dhoondta Phir (Jawani Diwani, 1971), bass guitar and harmony were first used in Bollywood. ‘

Songs influenced by jazz have always been the ones that made you say “Aha! »’With their unexpected harmonies and stimulating rhythms. The improvised saxophone solos pull your heart out and that’s what made Bollywood jazz so popular.

It’s an acquired taste

Although many songwriters and singers enjoy jazz, most find it an acquired taste. Singer and music producer Clinton Cerejo said, “I would only use jazz if a movie specifically demanded it. It’s a good balance between doing something really musical and alienating your listener. Honestly, I don’t think Bollywood songs can really be called jazz songs. Jazz flavor, there are a lot of them. But a jazz song goes beyond an idiom and a genre. It extends to the life energy of the people who really make this music. In fact, most real jazz musicians are often hesitant to call themselves that because it’s not a title you can wear freely. ‘ There are precise markers of a traditional, stereotypical jazz arrangement such as the use of a shuffle or swing beat, possibly an acoustic bass, a big band or a brass section, etc.

Jazz in Bollywood now

“Bollywood music has many styles these days. While not many songs are actually jazz, some contain these elements, ”says songwriter Mikey McCleary. The use of the saxophone and trumpet often gives a jazzy touch to Bollywood songs, as do the marching baselines. Mikey adds, “I have noticed that there is more experimentation with harmony and the use of jazz chords in movie songs. One of the hallmarks of jazz is a feeling of swing in the music. rhythm. Jazz will continue to influence Bollywood music, but it may not always be a traditional jazz sound. ‘

Last year, composer Amit Trivedi released an entire album of songs with a strong jazz influence ‘Bombay Velvet. Additionally, over the past two decades there have been many Bollywood movies that have had a lot of songs with top notch jazz music. Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s Sheher Mera (One By Two, 2011) with lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya is a fabulous and jazzy number. The song, sung by Thomson Andrews, has drums by Gino Banks and saxophone by Ryan Sadri. Listening to it makes you yearn for more jazz in the movies.

Catchy acts like Girls Like To Swing (Dil Dhadakne Do, 2015) and Aunty Ji (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, 2012) will remain popular. Slow tracks like Ye Tumhari Meri Baatein (Rock On !!, 2008), Aise Na Dekho (Raanjhanaa, 2013) and the title track by Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na (2008) are fine examples of jazz.

Will never go out of style

Jazz is essentially improvised music and it won’t go out of style easily. Dhruv says, “Audiences always want to be dazzled by virtuosity. I think music evolves and people’s tastes change every ten years or so, but the influence of jazz is here to stay. ‘

Jazz numbers in Bollywood now

  • Dil Ko Hazar Baar Roka (Murder – 2004)
  • Kaisi Paheli Zindagani (Parineeta – 2005)
  • Jab Bhi Cigarette (no smoking – 2007)
  • Jaane Tu … Ya Jaane Na (2008)
  • Behka Main Behka (Ghajini – 2008)
  • Masakali Masakali (Delhi 6 – 2009)
  • Khwabon Ke Parindey (Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara – 2011)
  • Sheher Mera (One by two – 2011)
  • Aise Na Dekho (Raanjhanaa – 2013)
  • Muskaanein Jhooti Hai (Talaash – 2012)
  • Aunt Ji (Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu -2012)
  • Koi Yeh Bata De Ki Kya Hai Mohabaat (Ekk Deewana Tha – 2012)
  • Hosanna (Ekk Deewana Tha – 2012)
  • Aise Na Dekho (Raanjhanaa – 2013)
  • Girls like to swing (Dil Dhadakne Do – 2015)
  • Mohabbat Buri Bimari (Bombay Velvet – 2015)

From jazz acts to Bollywood then

  • Gore Gore O Banke Chhore (Samadhi 1950)
  • Shola Jo Bhadke (Albela – 1951)
  • Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni Phir Kahan (Jaal 1952)
  • Babuji Dheere Chalna (Aar-Paar – 1954)
  • Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu (Howrah Bridge – 1958)
  • Aaiye Meherbaan (Howrah Bridge ‘1958)
  • Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si (Chalti ka Naam Gaadi ‘1958)
  • Dil Deke Dekho (Dil Deke Dekho – 1959).

Bombay Velvet: Movie Review

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