|Stylistic origins||Jazz, classical, Indian classical music, raga|
|Typical instruments||Saxophone, guitar, bass, drums, violin, sitar, tabla and other Indian classical instrumentations|
|Folk jazz, jazz fusion, minimalism, serialism, twelve-tone technique|
Indo jazz is a musical genre consisting of jazz, classical and Indian influences. Its structure and patterns are based on Indian music with typical jazz improvisation overlaid. While the term itself may be comparatively recent, the concept dates at least to the mid-1950s. Musicians including John Coltrane, Yusef Lateef and others reflect Indian influences.
The Mahavishnu Orchestra might be an early example of a jazz group with Indian influences as John McLaughlin at that time was a devotee of Sri Chinmoy. Others found the improvisational elements already in some Indian music to fit well with jazz. Although John Mayer and Joe Harriott are perhaps the most important influences in the movement. In addition Alice Coltrane is also known for relational work.
In the early 1970s, L. Subramaniam pioneered a new movement of Indo-jazz fusion, which he called "neo-fusion". It became very popular especially after the release of his albums such as Fantasy Without Limits (1979), Blossom (1981), Spanish Wave (1983), Conversations (1984), Indian Express (1985), and Mani and Co. (1986), in which he collaborated with musicians including Stephane Grappelli, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Tony Williams, Herbie Hancock, Larry Coryell, Emil Richards among others.
In America, Broto Roy, tabla percussionist, began composing and recording his brand of "Raga-Jazz" with his debut CD American Raga (1998), which was taken aboard and played on the International Space Station when Dennis Tito (America's first space tourist) blasted off into space. EMI India released it in India. His second CD, Total Immersion – Live at the Kennedy Center, is only the second CD authorized for public release by the Kennedy Center (the first was by Pavarotti). His Quartet has released two CDs: Ancient Algorithms (2015) and All Barriers Fall (May 15, 2018).
The most popular Indian-based Indo-jazz band would be KARMA, with internationally acclaimed tabla maestro Subhen Chatterjee, Lew Hilt (India's best known bassist), Amyt Dutta (one of India's best jazz guitarists) and others fronting the band.
One of the most innovative Indo-jazz experiences comes from Bombay native Ashwin Batish. Although classically trained in North Indian music by his father Pandit Shiv Dayal Batish, Ashwin's growing up in the West, first UK, then USA, gave him a unique insight into the world of Western music. His frequent sit-ins with jazz musicians and his exposure to western musicians such as his father's collaboration with George Harrison for the Beatles movie "Help!", sparked in him a desire to stretch his classical music roots into the world of jazz and fusion. Ashwin has, for the past 35 years, been at the forefront of combining his classical sitar music with rock, pop and jazz. He has received critical acclaim from jazz and world music writers and audiences. His latest release, Jazz Is Where Is, is with his "fiery sitar power trio" (Nigel Wood, Ear To The Globe, Ireland).
Batish is presently on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz where he teaches Indian music percussion theory and practice. Upon the invitation of the university, Ashwin will be teaching a five-week 2020 Summer intensive called Raga Jazz – an application of Indian music to Western Instruments.
Specific to John Mayer
This article contains too many or overly lengthy quotations for an encyclopedic entry. (May 2021)
"Mayer is very definite about that distinction, as only someone could understand who grew up in Calcutta studying Indian music with Sanathan Mukherjee whilst simultaneously learning Western music with Melhi Mehta. 'Indian music is basically built around a linear technique', he says. 'There's no harmony in the Western sense, just one extended melodic line accompanied by a drone. The absence of harmony is compensated for by very complex rhythms. As I found out more about Western music, I realised that there are similarities with the techniques of serialism. In serialism you are dealing with an atonal sequence, and in ragas, the Indian scale system, you are dealing with a tonal sequence, but one which goes up one way and down another, what's called the aroha-avaroha. In most of the music we play in Indo-Jazz Fusions, the music is all scored. I don't believe in too much improvisation, and when there is space for improvising, this is done in a format which reminds the player of the notes of the raga. [...]' [...] Indo-Jazz Fusions is just such proof of the folly of labels. It isn't a question of the music being jazz, or Indian, or classical; it is a thoroughly satisfying blend of ingredients into something genuinely new, original and forward looking."
Indo jazz musicians
- Vijay Iyer
- Shankar Jaikishan
- Arun Ghosh
- Grand Union Orchestra
- A. R. Rahman
- Amit Heri
- Raghavendran Rajasekaran
- Ashwin Batish
- Bud Shank (with Ravi Shankar)
- L. Subramaniam
- Trilok Gurtu
- Prasanna Ramaswamy
- Joe Harriott
- Zakir Hussain
- Arun Luthra
- George Brooks
- Deobrat Mishra
- John Mayer
- Badal Roy
- L. Shankar
- Soul Yatra
- John McLaughlin
- Prem Joshua
- Fareed Haque
- Nishat Khan
- Jyotsna Srikanth
- Sunny Jain
- Red Baraat
- Ranjit Barot
- Lalitha & Nandini
- Dr Rahul Sharma
- Irène Schweizer (Jazz Meets India)
- Redd, Adrienne. "EastJazz". Roots World.
- Baine, Wallace (2018-11-13). "Sitar Master Ashwin Batish at UCSC". Good Times Santa Cruz. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
- "S. D. Batish. Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
- "Ashwin Batish". Music Department, UC Santa Cruz. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
- "2020 Music Summer Courses". summer.ucsc.edu. Retrieved 2020-01-12.
- John Mayer's Indo-Jazz Fusions. Retrieved on 2006-07-05.
- Atkins, E. Taylor (2003), Jazz planet, University Press of Mississippi, ISBN 9781578066094, 1578066093
- Indo-Jazz Fusions Guardian review June 2008
- Grand Union
- Web site: www.ArunLuthra.NET
- "World Music Central". Archived from the original on 2007-06-12. Retrieved 2006-10-29.
- Jyotsna website.
- "All About Jazz". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-10-29.