|Fusion is unique in musical conception. Eastern and western music are widely different in many respects, but in this orchestra elements to various cultures combine to perform the music of John Mayer and other composers.
Indo-Jazz was something of a first. It was certainly the first ensemble to succesfully introduce jazz, classical and Indian music to each other, and it was the first band to use the term ' fusion ' in its name. It was the first time some of the structures and sonic patterns of Indian music was used as a framework for jazz musicians to improvise on.
In the 1960's the Indo side of the band consisted of John Mayer on violin/harpsichord, Diwan Motihar on sitar, Chris Taylor on flute, Keshav Sathe on tabla and Chandrahas Paigankar on tambura, the Jazz side was Joe Harriott on alto, Eddie Blair on trumpet, Pat Smythe on piano, Rick Laird on bass and Alan Ganley on drums. Joe Harriott was with the band from the beginning to the end, it was following his death in 1973 that Mayer decided to close the band down. Now some twenty-five years later with a new line up the band is recording and performing again.
In these early days Mayer was working with established jazz figures who, after years of gigging around had a certain degree of inflexibilty. As Mayer puts it "...they were all hard boiled professional musicians...Joe Harriott was like a tree...I mean when the tree's grown, you can't bend with it can you? ". By contrast he feels the present band are more inclined to try translating Indian techniques on, say, the sitar, to the keyboard, or from the tablas to the drums, and that all promotes a cohesiveness to the outfit. " There's not the isolation that there was before..there is now a closeness in the band which is so nice"
extract of article by Robin Broadbank ©1996.
indo-jazz fusions composers and musicians