Mancunian favourite Arun Ghosh made a triumphant return home to perform at the Thwaites Festival Pavilion at Manchester Jazz Festival on Saturday 19th July.
In a performance split over two sets, he showcased his recent South Asian Suite in the first set, before following up with some of his older material.
From the opening of The Gypsies of Rajasthan from his 2013 offering South Asian Suite, it was a show full of vibrance, enthusiasm, energy and skill which brought consistant cheers and applause from the audience. South Asian Suite is his take on folk and south asian music, yet, in part, it is inspired by his experience of living in the north of England. It seemed almost fate that his next piece was the beautiful, slow and delicate, yet at times quite driven After The Monsoon, particularly apt given the downpour earlier in the day.
His music was certainly atmospheric, and varied – contrasting up-tempo pieces such as Sufi Stomp (Soul of Sindh) which contained an exciting battle for supremacy between clarinet and saxophone before bursting into an energetic finale with more delicate pieces such as Mountain Song, a delicate piece inspired by Nepal and the Lake District, filled with soul and movement, and the stunning piano interlude of Gautama’s Footsteps.
The second set was a collection of material from Arun’s previous albums, for which he was joined on stage by beat-boxer Jason Singh, who provided an awesome array of sound effects which were put to full use throughout the set. The second set had a slightly different feel, as a touch more funk set in. The audience again lapped it up.
The pick of the night, at least for me, was Longsight Lagoon, a piece dedicated to Brian Morgan. Filled with mystery, drama, intrigue and even a touch of menace, it had everything including the sounds of the emergency services courtesy of Jason Singh. Showing incredible versatility Arun Ghosh Sextet performed Caliban’s Revenge, a piece written to sound like The Who at the request of Pete Postlethwaite whilst he was performing in The Tempest – and it did!, receiving a standing ovation – as well as encore piece Come Home, a cover of the 1989 James classic.
The standard of the performance was outstanding, not just from Arun Ghosh but also from the whole sextet (Chris Williams on alto saxophone, John Ellis on piano, Liran Donin on double bass, Dave Walsh on drums and Nilesh Gulhane on tabla). Simply a wonderful performance – indo-jazz fusion at the Manchester Jazz Festival … outstanding.