Live Review: Arun Luthra at The Verdict

Arun Luthra’s Konnakol Jazz Project

The Verdict, Brighton

Friday 23rd August, 2019

Konnakol, the South Indian vocal art of performing percussion syllables is something that has rarely been combined with jazz and Arun Luthra represents one of a small number of jazz musicians who have mastered the vocal and rhythmic complexity of this art form.

As well as this fusion, Luthra is an experienced and talented saxophonist and composer, evident from the opening number Toorna.

His original piece, Billie & Mal’s Loneliness, was inspired by Flushing Town Hall, a famous venue in Queens, New York where Luthra was a composer in residence. The tune was based on Left Alone by Billie Holiday & Mal Waldron and was part of a suite entitled Monarchs of Queens and proved to be a haunting ballad which Luthra played on the soprano saxophone.

Luthra’s choice of other material was intriguing and a far cry from the usual jazz standards. The Mike Stern tune Suspone is one that is rarely heard and the clever re-working of the theme tune to The Price Is Right, played as a ballad, worked incredibly well.

Pianist Sam Leak was excellent, as always, contributing sensitive accompaniment and some virtuosic soloing. Bassist Tom Mason also proved to be a fine soloist, and blended well with drummer Dave Ingamells.

Charlie Anderson

Arun Luthra, saxophones and vocals; Sam Leak, piano; Tom Mason, bass; Dave Ingamells, drums.