Despite a rather hectic arrival at Norwich Arts Centre – where half an hour was spent frantically pulling on all the doors of the churches on St Benedict’s street, until the right one was eventually found – the evening was an overall success.
Ranjana Ghatak started the evening’s program with her quartet’s unusual but lovely fusion of jazz tunes and Indian lyrics. She has performed at the London Saddlers Well Theatre and the Barbican, and has a background of learning alongside some of the most acclaimed Asian vocalists in India. It is not hard to see why Ghatak’s music is becoming so popular.
At first, the unique blend of music and culture did not seem representative of jazz, but a new genre of music in itself. The mixture of Asian and jazz styles was dynamic, and the versatile programme showed how well this blend works, in both the lively and melancholy tunes. It was a refreshing experience, and the Ranjana Quartet is one to be recommended as a new experience at the least.
The musicians in the second half of the programme were the Seb Rochford and Kit Downes Duo, winners of the BBC Jazz Award for Rising Stars. This contemporary and experimental jazz was interesting.
The piano and drums frequently juxtaposed each other, creating a somewhat eclectic mix of occasionally beautiful phrases and brilliant technique, which did not always go hand in hand. Although there were definitely subtle and clever differences between the pieces, the music became a little repetitive, but all in all the duo should be commended for their original work.