A jazz quartet fuses reggae, hip hop and blues
When you think of jazz music, the harmonica isn’t necessarily the first instrument that comes to mind. And while William Galison admits that he initially took up the instrument to help him stand out from the crowd at college, he’s since made it his own. The artiste has performed with the likes of Sting and Steely Dan, and has recently teamed up with emerging talent from the New York scene to form a jazz quartet. Joined by Pennsylvania native Billy Test on the piano, Japanese-born Yoshi Waki on the bass and New Yorker Darrell Smith on the drums, the India tour will be the first time that the quartet performs together. “I have played with Yoshi and with Darrell individually before, but never all together. I met Billy recently at a gig and was blown away by his playing,” says Galison.
The quartet has been rehearsing together for the last three months, developing a repertoire that includes jazz standards, interpretations of pop classics by artistes such as Stevie Wonder and the Beatles, as well as original compositions. “Rhythmically speaking, we will play in many styles. You’ll hear sambas, reggae, rock, a little hip hop and blues. We like to groove, and we know we’re succeeding when we see people moving,” Galison says.
The most unusual aspect of the band is its focus on the harmonica, which is an instrument often overlooked in jazz music. “When I started out, I didn’t know of anyone else on the planet that was playing the chromatic harmonica, and my seemingly innate ability to play jazz tunes on this humble little instrument seemed like magical gift,” reveals Galison, who adds that one of his greatest joys is surprising his audience with the depth and breadth of sound that such a humble instrument can produce.
May 29 and 30, 9.30 pm. At WindmillsCraftworks, Whitefield. Tickets
(`500 upwards) on