97 WEST - A pioneering Kolkata global free jazz band experimenting with the "Morph" sound

Listen to Varanasi Underground by 97 West

Four talented, young musicians from Kolkata have come together to create a form of music that was never heard before. They call it Morph.

97 WEST Kolkata Band

Experimental music or avant-garde, in its truest form, has never been a part of Indian  Jazz scenario. 97WEST is possibly the first Indian band that is truly Avant-Garde/Experimental in genre.

"97 West is a Morph Music band. Morph is a musical form that seamlessly morphs from one cultural sound to another" says Sharthok Chakraborty, the young bass player, a disciple of Amyt Dutta , who named the Genre. Sharthok adds, "We were always interested in the day to day sounds which are often 'neglected' as music .This was the common string that gave birth to the form of music when we came together."

How does 97 WEST differ from any other band, you ask ?

97 WEST: Golden Bridge
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To start with, the band has been trying to promote its very own genre known as "MORPH MUSIC ". This kind of an attempt is unheard of in the history of Indian bands.

MORPH MUSIC as the name suggests is music which can seamlessly change from one 'form' to another. This music precisely highlights the inclination of the band to not only fuse eastern and western influences,but from each and every culture around the world,be it in an unheard African village or in the streets of Turkey.One can actually hear and visualize the different influences taking shape in their compositions.This very much sets them apart from other/run of the mill fusion bands.

97 WEST by nature is truly AVANT-GARDE by nature. Experimental music has not even touched base in India. They are among the very few bands who are willing to take up the challenge to stretch the commonly observed musical norms and boundaries and to actually explore things,thoughts in a different light altogether.

The band is composed of 4 melody players.However one does not feel the absence of a percussion player at any point of time!This is not co-incidence. Rather it is the intentional effort of the band to play percussive music on melody instruments,a concept which no one has yet even attempted, let alone implementation.

The widely appreciated original compositions of the band are the mirrors which clearly portray the effective amalgammation of the diverse cultural and musical influences, which "fusion bands' normally fail to portray. The music will hopefully 'talk' with the listeners  as well.

Finally, the band does not aim to change world politics or views of people! 97 WEST creates music for the love of music itself.If people like their music, they are obviously happy.If some people do not,they are still happy since they are totally in love with their music and they believe in what they create!

97 West are :

97 WEST Band Members

SAPTARSHI ROY,who is in charge of the keys,is one of the most prolific keyboard / Piano players presently. He has toured EUROPE extensively over 7 times and has been associated with bands like URBAN REFLEKTIONS JAZZ, TAALTANTRA of TANMOY BOSE,the tabla player. He has even played at the INDIA FESTIVAL in NETHERLANDS .Having an acute sense of rhythm along with melody, konnakol is at his fingertips. His favourite musician: CHICK COREA.

KOUSTAV DEY,the guitar player,has been the corner stone for the band.His devotion and Saintly attitude towards music,life has inspired fellow musicians and has been the base for this band to come together.A student of AMYT DUTTA ,has also trained in indian classical music from the universally acclaimed,grammy nominated slide guitar player, PANDIT DEBASHISHBHATTACHARYA.His influences vary from free jazz to african tribal music and everything in between. His favourite musician: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN.

SHARTHOK CHAKRABORTY,the bass player is the new kid on the block.A student of AMYT DUTTA, his musical approach is based on the amphibian nature of the bass,keeping the rhythm as well as the melody intact.Humble to the core and so is his music .His Forté lies in playing exceptionally well to the requirement-playing according to the sound.Not taking away his overflowing solo orientations and frenetic originality. His favourite musician:JOHN MCLAUGHLIN.

SUCHAL CHAKRABORTY,who is on vocals is one of the foremost students of SHANTANU BHATTACHARYA,a disciple of PANDIT AJOY CHALRABORTY.Though belonging from an Indian Classical background,his musical ideas are not limited to that genre only.A prolific listener of jazz and world music,he incorporates all those traits in his singing. His favourite musician:BADE GHULAM ALI KHAN.

Listen to 97 West online at www.myspace.com/97westmusic »

97 West can be contacted at 97westmusic [at] gmail.com or gogol.grooves [at] gmail.com.