Live reviews

Arun Ghosh Quartet in Glasgow

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Arun Ghosh Quartet.

(The Glad Cafe, Glasgow. 29 April 2022. Live Review by Patrick Hadfield)

L-R: Kapil Seshasayee, Dave Walsh, Arun Ghosh, Gavin Barras. Photo credit: Patrick Hadfield

Arun Ghosh‘s tour promoting his new album Seclused In Light is drawing to its close, and one of the last dates was at the Glad Cafe in Glasgow. A  small atmospheric venue, it had attracted a receptive and supportive audience.

Many artists produced albums during lockdown, their creative instincts turned to writing new material as live work became an impossibility. Ghosh played many instruments on Seclused In Light before building the tunes up into whole-band performances with many collaborators.

With a quartet, it could be that the limited instrumentation would diminish the work, especially since it was the first show with Glaswegian guitarist Kapil Seshasayee. Not a bit of it. Whilst Seshasayee provided few solos, particularly in the first half when he was finding his feet, he added a lot of texture and depth. Gavin Barras on bass and Dave Walsh on drums provided a solid foundation for Ghosh’s high energy clarinet playing.

Most of the pieces came from the new album, with a couple in the second set from Ghosh’s first album Northern Namaste and one from 2017’s but where are you REALLY from? It is hard to believe it is five years since that release. Heard together, Ghosh’s music presents a coherent picture of Asian-Anglo jazz fusion, with a strong groove.

Above all, this feels like dance music; seated in the front row, it’s hard not to move. Even the slower numbers have a compelling groove. Ghosh’s vitality seems ceaseless – he dances throughout the show, even when he’s not playing, although he admits to being exhausted by the end. There are times he seems like the Pied Piper, leading the audience and directing the band with his clarinet.

There were several pieces requiring audience participation. He got us willingly clapping a tricky time signatures; chanting “Hanji!” on the tune of that name, after he pointed out it was integral to the tune and he couldn’t chant and play clarinet at the same time. And on the penultimate number, the slow, introspective Souls, it seemed that the whole audience joined in with the wordless vocals which produced a moment of beauty, the band and audience performing together.

Ghosh said he rarely performs Souls, and it felt like an emotional and spiritual release. Perhaps wisely, he decided to play one more upbeat number, Aurora, before we left beneath leaden Glasgow skies.

Patrick Hadfield lives in Edinburgh, occasionally takes photographs, and sometimes blogs at On the Beat. Twitter: @patrickhadfield

Categories: Live reviews

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