G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

W H Auden: "But in my arms till break of day / Let the living creature lie. / Mortal, guilty, but to me/ The entirely beautiful."

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Art Spiegelman: "You know words in a way are hitting you on the left side of your brain, music and visual arts hit on the right side of the brain, so the idea is to pummel you, to send you from left brain to right brain and back until you're as unbalanced as I am."

विलास सारंग: "संदर्भ कुठलेही असोत, संस्कृत, इंग्रजी, बुद्धिवादी, तांत्रिक, इतिहासाचे, खगोलशास्त्राचे, आधुनिक पदार्थविज्ञानाचे, शिवकालीन व पेशवाईतील बखरीचे, अगणित ज्ञानक्षेत्रांचे, अशा वैविध्यपूर्ण ज्ञानावर लेखन- विशेषत: कवितालेखन- उभं राहत."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Charming Saxophone of Pandit Coltrane and Manohari Singh

From October 14, 2007 onwards, Manohari Singh, number one Saxophonist in the world of Hindi film music, has been speaking to Vividh Bharati on his art.

I remember vividly posters of Dev Anand’s Guide displayed all over Miraj circa 1965. It was exhibited at Deval talkies. I wanted to watch the film. My father flatly refused. Quite rightly so because Guide has nothing to offer to a five/six year old boy!

But why did I want to watch it? Its songs, particularly “Gata Rahe Mera Dil”. Manohari Singh has famously played sax in it.I guess I started liking Jazz instruments because of artists like Singh

You can hear Manohari’s sax when you listen to many famous songs like – “Bedardi Balma Tujh Ko” (Arju), unforgettable “Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi Woh Barsat Ki Rat” (Barsat Ki Rat), “Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai” (Kati Patang), “Tere Mere Sapne Ab Ek Rang” (Guide), “Hai duniya usiki, zamaana usika” (Kashmir Ki Kali) etc.

Led by C Ramchandra and R D Burman, some great Jazz-inspired music has been created in Hindi film industry.

This was not unprecedented. Great Tyagaraja composed a raga after listening to western band at the Thanjavur Maratha court of 18th Century. (Source- RGK of Times of India)

Then one day in 1984, I heard John Coltrane’s album “Blue Train” at Rhythm House, Kala Ghoda, Mumbai.

In December 2002, I wrote on Amazon.com about the experience:
“I bought this album in Mumbai, India way back in 1984. I had then not heard much about Coltrane. I was and still not into any form of western music. But I like Indian classical Music. And Coltrane moved me beyond my wildest imagination. Even today when I hear "I'm old fashioned", tears come to my eyes. For me,he is Pandit Coltrane!”

The Economist (Sep 8 2006) said:” Ask any fan or critic to nominate the most influential jazz figures of the past 50 years and two names will invariably come up: John Coltrane, saxophonist extraordinary, and Miles Davis, trumpeter…

Coltrane was a man on a mission. During his time with Davis, he confronted and defeated his addictive demons, a victory he attributed to “a spiritual awakening” that prompted a lifelong commitment “to play music that would make people happy”. Not just make them happy, in fact, but elevate them to another plane. For Coltrane, music became more than mere entertainment. It was also the means by which he pursued an ecstatic personal quest, every time he played.

His spiritual hunger was matched by exhaustive practice. He sometimes literally fell asleep with his horn in his hands, and his knowledge of harmony, scales and modes was encyclopedic.”

Snake charmer below is supposed to be using PUNGI for the job. Pungi is nothing but a double clarinet with the difference being the mouthpieces of the Indian instrument is concealed in a large gourd.

Surely Coltrane’s sax would work the charm!

Artist: Otto Soglow The New Yorker 28 Oct 1939