Jazz, looking for new pathways | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 23, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 23, 2011

Jazz, looking for new pathways

(From left) Tim Armacost, Tony Jefferson, Paul Beaudry and Bennett Paster in Dhaka. Photo: Amirul Rajiv

For Paul Beaudry, a dream has come true: the bassist, composer, producer, vocalist and educator from New York was visiting Dhaka with his jazz ensemble, Paul Beaudry & Pathways, last weekend. The group stayed here for a free live performance at the Independent University, Bangladesh (IUB) Amphitheatre last night and will interact with Bangladeshi music students at an educational workshop today. “This is a region I've always wanted to visit,” Beaudry said in an interview with The Daily Star before the concert yesterday. “I've been waiting ten years to see this place,” he added.
The bandleader was accompanied by Tim Armacost on tenor sax and alto flute, Tony Jefferson on drums and Bennett Paster on keyboard. The group, which lives and performs in New York, released their first recording, the self-titled “Paul Beaudry & Pathways”, last year. Now, they are on a tour throughout South and Central Asia. They play traditional jazz and blues with folk and world music influence. Their repertoire combines the band members' compositions and arrangements with selected standards from jazz's broad stylistic range. As they are always looking for new pathways, they break boundaries and try to integrate new melodies from all over the world in their own sound. “I'm interested in the transformation,” Beaudry said.
Even though this was the band's first visit to Bangladesh, the musicians managed to bring a Bangla song to the stage. Keyboardist Bennett Paster explained: “It is important to incorporate local sounds to create a relationship with the audience.” Beyond that, some songs are liked by people all over the world, because “a great song is a great song, no matter where in the world you play it.”
“I always try to prepare myself before visiting a country,” Beaudry said. He couldn't compare this country to anything he has seen so far: “Bangladesh is unique.” As the band left for India after the performance and workshop, the musicians didn't have much time to get to know Dhaka. “But we tried to take in as much as we could,” Beaudry said.
The concert and the workshop were made possible through The Rhythm Road: American Music Abroad -- a programme jointly sponsored by the U.S. State Department and Jazz at Lincoln Centre. Launched in 2005, Rhythm Road has sent 150 musicians to over 100 countries around the world. In addition to their Bangladesh stop, Paul Beaudry & Pathways will perform in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and India.
More information and sounds: www.paulbeaudry.com

The writer is an intern at The Daily Star

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