Tizaan Alphonso from the band QuinTiz talks about their influences and the challenges of pursuing jazz in India
With a goal to make jazz appealing to audiences, Tizaan Alphonso created the band QuinTiz with four of his collegemates. Tonight, they will be performing in the city at Shisha Cafe.
Hailing from a musical background — his parents were both part of a band — Alphonso always knew what he wanted to pursue in life. He started learning music from the age of six and has also performed with his sister Zian Bhamgara in the last five to six years.
But after moving to Maastricht Conservatorium, Netherlands, to get a degree in jazz music he met his other band members — Pierre Vyncke on saxophone, lead guitarist Philip Cho, Cody Soudant on bass and Joey Schins on drums — and formed QuinTiz in September 2016.
The driving force behind the band is their passion for writing original music. They take inspiration from iconic jazz artists like Snarky Puppy and Brad Mehldau Trio, who are currently at the top of contemporary jazz. Having been inspired by such Grammy-winning artists, the band expanded into a quintet, which was the finishing touch to all the dreams and vision that Alphonso had in mind.
If you are wondering what does QuinTiz mean? Alphonso explains it for you: “Quin stands for quintet while Tiz is extracted from my name — Tizaan”. Talking further about the origin of their band, Alphonso says, “We are a jazz/ jazz fusion band with band members from different countries. Jazz is really close to my heart and I have been majorly influenced by Snarky Puppy and Robert Glasper. Fortunately, we are lucky enough to know what sells having observed these legends. I am really inclined towards writing original stuff which is groovy with broken beats. Tonight, my sister Zian will also be performing along with the band. We will be performing six covers and eight originals to create a balance. We promise to bring pure energy onto the stage and hope that people will enjoy the experience and have good memories to take home.”
But with band members from different countries, creative differences are bound to arise. Explains Alphonso, “It is pretty natural when people from such different backgrounds get together. Someone may have a theoretical approach towards writing or creating music but then the other members need to think how it will sound on stage. So all the creative differences do bring a unique perspective to our music.”
Jazz in India
Jazz, which has a massive popularity abroad, is slowly gaining recognition in India. So is it challenging to perform in a country which is still gaining knowledge about the genre? Alphonso says, “We only have two great jazz musicians in India, one of them being Louiz Banks. Unfortunately in India, nobody wants to take the initiative to share and teach the intricacies of jazz music. I learnt classical music in my childhood but it was only when I went abroad did I realise that I am inclined towards jazz. I received the kind of guidance I needed because people there are ready to help and guide you.”
Alphonso even mentions that there is a massive need of small cafes who promote young artists to showcase their talent. “Youngsters like jazz music but they don’t know the outlets or somewhere they can go and enjoy themselves. If you don’t give them a platform, how will they know what they like or not like. If you look abroad, Europe is the best place to experience jazz music since they have specific jazz cafes and have jam sessions every now and then,” he says adding, “Youngsters here also feel that they wouldn’t be able to make much money in this profession which is why the aversion. Even parents think twice before promoting their kids.”
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Enjoy jazz performance by QuinTiz, along with Zian Bhamgara, at Shisha Cafe, ABC Farms, Koregaon Park, on August 24 from 8 pm onwards