If we talk jazz, we rarely mention India. We know how indian music is. Yes, we often hear it from the movies, that’s right. But if you think there’s no jazz in India, wait a minute. Meet Prasanna, an exceptional talent who will stunned you instantly right from the very first bar he plays. Prasanna came from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu state that famously knwon as “Gateway to South India”. He is a guitarist, but he plays differently like you’ve never heard before.
Imagine this. We know Carnatic music, the ethnical music representing the sound of southern part of India, one of the oldest music system in the world with a very complex structures both techincally and artistically. It’s an ancient musical forms that nobody thought it could be played by modern instrument. But Prasanna proved them wrong. He daringly took the path carrying Carnatic music, along with all the complexity, by using a very modern instruments, the electric guitar. Can you imagine the high degree of difficulties presenting Carnatic music through a guitar? Prasanna has been doing it from the early 90s, and he is keep on doing it, even extending his style to jazz, rock, blues altogether with the ancient Carnatic. It’s phenomenal.
Prasanna has made many albums and achivements. 11 Carnatic albums, Carnatic-Rock Tribute to Jimi Hendrix “Electric Ganesha Land”, an electric solo guitar album “Peaceful, highly acclaimed contemporary jazz album that featured many Grammy Awards winning artists, “Be The Change”, an album with the Belgian band “Aka Moon” where he delivered triple-guitar project, and one guitar instruction DVD, “Ragamorphism”, where you can see the in-depth look about how far he defines the meaning of improvisation. The Life Time Achievement Award for Carnatic music from H.H. Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, India’s most honored spiritual leader, The Berklee College of Music Composition Achievement Award, The Berklee college of Music Guitar Achievement Award has been listed in his achievement bank, and I’m sure there will be more to come.
Prasanna has performed/recorded with many big names like Victor Wooten, Omar Hakim, Joe Lovano, Larry Coryell, Aka Moon, Dave Douglas, Steve Smith, Anthony Jackson and many more. Collaborations from the Indian music worlds including A.R. Rahman, Illayaraja, Dr L Subramaniam, Hari Prasad Chaurasia, Umayalpuram Sivaraman, Trichy Sankaran and many more.
Prasanna has also been performed in many famous stages and events all around the world such as The North Sea Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, Chicago World Music Festival, Festival Guitares Du Monde, PanaFest, St Florent Le Vieil, Lotus World Music Festival to name a few. And this year, Prasanna will take another step on performing at one of the world’s biggest jazz event, Java Jazz Festival 2009. It’s going to be great to watch his performance, taking up all the complexity of Carnatic music and fuse it all wih jazz. You’ll witness the perfect east meet west, cross-over between traditionalist and modernist, and outstanding skill of a highly gifted man from India in this year’s Java Jazz 2009. Don’t miss it!
What they said about Prasanna:
“Prasanna plays guitar, quite simply like nobody on the planet” (PHIL DI PIETRO, ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM)
“Inhumanly precise fretwork” (CHICAGO READER)
“I’ve never heard an electric guitar could sound like that” (MATT WRIGHT, UTAH STATESMAN, USA)
“As Instantly recognizable as that of Carlos Santana or Jimi Hendrix” (TEED ROCKWELL, INDIA CURRENTS, USA)
“A Highly Accomplished pelctorist and true world music visionary” (BILL MILKOWSKI, JAZZIZ MAGAZINE)
“The musical boundary-crossing Prasanna was an apt choice” (JILL SYKES, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, AUSTRALIA)
“Displays formidable guitar chops and compositional ambitions” (DAVID ADLER, JAZZ TIMES)
“He just cannot strike a false note ever” (R SRINIVASAN, INDIAN EXPRESS)
“I was left with the distinct feeling that I had seen a master at work” (TEJAS EWING, THE HINDU, INDIA)
“Prasanna is a wondrous wake-up call for tired aural neurons” (JOHN PATTERSON, EERMUSIC.COM)
“Penetrating Sitar-like effects” (HOWARD REICH, CHICAGO TRIBUNE)
“When Prasanna plays the blues, you can hear the world” (NARESH FERNANDES, TIME OUT MAGAZINE, MUMBAI, INDIA)
“Indescribably beautiful music” (C.S. VALLIKANTH, ALLABOUTJAZZ.COM)
“You need to hear this fellow play the guitar” (WALTER KOLOSKY, ABSTRACTLOGIX.COM)
Pictures taken from http://www.guitarprasanna.com and www.imsom.org