Roots & Influences: Milap Indo-Jazz Club

Roots and Influences invites our favourite artists, local and afar, to curate a playlist of 10 songs that have inspired their career to date. We sat down with Milap Indo-Jazz Club ahead of their performance at Liverpool International Jazz Festival to chat about their roots and influences.

Each member of the club selected two tracks each and told us a little bit about what it meant to them and how it influenced their individual performance style!

Jonathan Mayer (Sitar)

Track 1) London Music Fusion - Dhammapada: VII. Tri-Dandin

This piece started it all off for me. I heard it when I was 15 and made me want to start learning the sitar. Clem Alford is playing of this and he was my first teacher.

Track 2) Ludwig van Beethoven - Grosse Fuge in B Flat Major, Op.133

This was written nearly 200 years ago and still sounds modern. Shows what a genius Beethoven was and that we must always push the boundaries of what we musically believe.

Olivia Moore ( Violin)

Track 1) Dave Douglas Quartet: Charms of the Night Sky

I love this track because of its lilting soothing Tango feel and for the fact that it features the violinist "Mark Feldman".

I love Mark’s playing because of how original and contemporary sounding he is as a player without being a strictly bebop or Gypsy Jazz violinist. I admire his language, phrasing and precision. 

Shortly after my Mum died in 2016, I had the chance to visit relatives in New York and I paid Mark a visit in Brooklyn. We chatted for hours and I played my Indian violin to him and his cats! He gave me the invaluable insight of his own journey..... how at the age of 40, he spent 5 years learning classical music and how this benefitted his technical capacity on the instrument. I therefore then did the same thing myself after reconnecting with my Childhood violin teacher Edmund Reid. It helped me a lot.

Track 2) Kala Ramnath - Hans Dwani

The other track of my choice is Hans Dwani by Kala Ramnath. I have learnt from Kala Ramnath off and on in Mumbai and online for twenty years. Today she is one of the most revered Indian performers alive. She has helped me enormously to find meaning in my music and my career. There is enormous depth to her playing and it really takes you on a journey. Here she is playing one of my favourite Ragas and one of the first that she taught me. Its title means “Song of the Swan”

Rowland Sutherland (Flute)

Track 1) Moments Notice composed by John Coltrane, played by Hubert Laws

I first heard this track during my formative years, before I became a student at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and before I joined the Jazz Warriors Orchestra. 

I was completely blown away by the track which for me was an album of flautist Hubert Law’s finest hour. I had been exploring a lot of his albums, music-making and repertoire. At the time, he was probably the most versatile flautist I had come across. He was equally at home with classical, gospel, soul, rhythm and blues, Latin, soundtracks and pop music. 

I found it spellbinding what Hubert and the musicians displayed on this Coltrane number. Such a strong groove and swing feel. So very articulate and with much dexterity. The togetherness is exceptional and their solos are so explorative yet succinct. Such a warm spirit among the artists. I never tire of hearing this rendition. 

Track 2) Airto Moreira - I'm Fine, How Are You?

I spent so much time during my formative years listening to a very wide span of musics from around the globe. I particularly spent a lot of time listening to music from Brazil, the Caribbean, Latin America, various parts of Africa, India and Japan. 

Of the Brazilian musics I explored, I found myself turning to Airto Moreira, Hermeto Pascoal and Flora Purim a lot. 

This track, to me, was one of the finest Brazilian jazz tracks I had come across at the time. I feel that it pays respect to the North East Brazilian feel of the enriching traditional sounds of the baiao, whilst taking it into the realms of a more high energy contemporary setting, and all that comes with an electric jazz band whilst Airto uses traditional African Brazilian percussion and a unique drum kit setup. 

This tune goes through a lot of different zones and phases without changing its tempo. It maintains a pulsating momentum and is so very atmospheric. The band is made up of notable artists from Brazil, Latin America ant the USA including:

Airto - percussion, Flora Purim - vocals, Tom Scott - alto sax, Hugo Fattorusso - keyboards and Byron Millard on bass guitar. 

This was one of the albums that inspired me to start my own band, Rowland Sutherland’s Mistura.

Issie Barret (Baritone Sax)

Track 1) Both Sides Now - Joni Mitchell

Heard it when I was three! GREAT story. Mega vibe. Powerful hearing a woman be such a strong story teller when you’re three ! Great mentor.

Track 2) Miles Davis - Buzzard Song

AMAZING orchestration. So much colour from Miles – that matches Gil’s AMAZINGLY gorgeous orchestration From screaming trumpet, cascading down to warm flutes, soft tuba, and then suddenly…. That SWING feel from the kit !! OH MY GOODNESS !!! And then at the end, A BEAUTIFULLY MELODIC TUBA .. what a sound! With incredible brass and flutes accompaniment. The ghostly flutes – ooooooohooooo! 

Kousic Sen (Tabla)

Track 1) Shakati Ensemble with John Mclaughlin (Album)

Track 2) Shakati Ensemble - Lotus Feet

Shakti was an eye opener for our generation, where the band had started combining the main 2 styles of Indian classical music (Hindustani and Carnatic) with Western musicians to the highest level.  It was really highly inspiring to all of us and for world music in general.

You can find a full playlist of all of these tracks below

Make sure you don't miss out on seeing this incredible live act at Liverpool International Jazz Festival at the Capstone Theatre! You can find the tickets HERE