Zakir Hussain is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest musicians of our time. A classical tabla virtuoso of the highest order, his consistently brilliant and exciting performances have established him as a national treasure in his own country, India, and as one of India’s reigning cultural ambassadors.
Crosscurrents attempts to portray all directions of inspiration between the idioms of jazz and Indian music. The great bassist Dave Holland, a player with one of the most distinguished careers in jazz, brings his singular vision to the quintet. The ensemble pays tribute to pioneering musicians and composers on opposite sides of the world who built a bridge which could be traversed in both directions.
The influence of Indian classical music on jazz is widely known. Less known, however, is the influence of jazz on the popular music of India. Jazz first came to India by way of the Hollywood musicals of the 1930s and '40s and quickly influenced the music of India’s burgeoning film industry. The improvisational nature of jazz was familiar to Indian composers and musicians who found a way to incorporate jazz harmonies and chord progressions into their work.
As a few decades passed, and as the West was enjoying the inspiration of Indian classical music, certain musicians came to influence popular music in India in a big way. Among these are saxophonist Chris Potter, singer/violinist Ganesh Rajagopalan, jazz pianist Louiz Banks, guitarist Sanjay Divecha, and drummer Gino Banks.