East meets West
Noted jazz musician Andrew Morris and fusion-master Ornob.
For an artist, bringing together elements from different cultures and periods in time through one's art is an exhilarating experience. Fusing of the mind, melody and rhythm leaves a listener asking for more. Such is the collaboration between the fusion-master Ornob and noted jazz musician Andrew Morris that has been a completely new style of treat for music connoisseurs of Dhaka.
Ornob, in the past couple of years, has stunned music lovers with his versatility, defining a new dimension in the music arena in the country with his famous singles She je boshe ache, Hariye giyechi amongst many and very recently, his album Hok kolorob. Andrew Morris of Bluenote, a jazz band comprising of Andrew Morris and Saad Chowdhury, is a writer and a jazz musician from Wales, who has been playing the saxophone from the age of twelve.
The alternative duo will get together yet again for a show that should be memorable not only for the music but also for the cause they support. On September 6, Andrew and Ornob will be performing at the 'East meets West' concert at the Heritage restaurant in Gulshan.
The proceeds from the show will be donated to the BNWLA hostel, a shelter in Agargaon established by several female lawyers of Bangladesh, headed by Salma Ali. BNWLA shelters lost, homeless, trafficked girls and abused domestic workers amongst many. “The hostel is shifting very soon to a bigger place,” says Andrew, who has been involved with the hostel's efforts to rehabilitate the lives of many for the last several months. “A new establishment is being planned in Gazipur,” he says. The earnings from this concert will help in the construction of the new building.
"What is different about 'East Meets West' is that the numbers I play will be fused with Andrew's jazz ideas with the addition of the saxophone to the compositions.”
Andrew met Ornob six months ago and since then have done four live shows together and plan to do more in the future. “At one time I used to simply stand in one corner at the posh parties in Dhaka and play my saxophone,” says Andrew. “It's quite lonely playing all by yourself, especially when there is no response from the crowd who are busy drinking.”
Believed to be perfectionists in their own ways, both Ornob and Andrew seem to have no trouble, whatsoever, in breaking their compositions and letting a foreign influence fuse with their melodies. They believe it is because of their abilities to harmonise with each other and make a connection. “I listen to Ornob's composition and initially try to jam along with my saxophone,” says Andrew. “At one point we just connect and I know where he is going to go next and simply harmonise with him. It just comes from within.” Clearly, a technique very difficult to explain, these two musicians spend hours harmonising and jamming with each other. “I am also planning to work with Andrew in some of my compositions in my next album,” says Ornob.
Both the musicians complement each others' style which works very well with the kind of melody that Ornob tries to create, says Ornob. Andrew believes that Ornob is quite generous. “It is not easy for a musician to compromise with his compositions,” he says. “But Ornob gives me the freedom during live shows to do what I want to do and is very generous where solo pieces are concerned.”
“There are purists who are very orthodox about fusing elements in a particular style and rather keep it the way it has been for centuries,” explains Ornob. “However, when we jam together, Andrew seems to understand what to do and where to go with his saxophone, which completely suits my thoughts and ideas while composing.”
The 'East Meets West' concert will also feature musicians Buno, Sahana, Jibon, Labeek and Nazrul. Tickets are now being sold at Heritage restaurant for Tk 1500 each and will have to be booked beforehand at the restaurant. The concert is being sponsored by Warid Telecom.
(R) thedailystar.net 2007