Rajeev Raja mesmerizes music lovers with ‘Jazzification’

Rajeev Raja mesmerizes music lovers with ‘Jazzification’

–          – A concert which  ‘jazzified’ the tunes of your favorite Bands and musicians who marked history

Mumbai, August 23, 2014: Rajeev Raja (Concert Flute), is no stranger to the Jazz and fusion fraternity. Considered as one of India’s most exciting flautists, Rajeev enthralls the audiences with a mixture of legato and staccato styles with influences ranging from Jazz to Indian Classical to Rock to Latin.  Rajeev Raja, along with an array of stellar Jazz musicians such as Merlin  D’souza (Piano/Keys), Sanjay Divecha(Guitar), KarlPeters(Bass), Ryan Sadri and Rhys Sebastian(Saxophones), Karim Ellaboudi(Piano/Keys) and Ruben Steijn(Drums), recently set the stage on fire performing at the ‘Jazzification’ Concert on August 22, 2014 at TATA Theater, NCPA .

The event climaxed when the band performed tunes such as Bouree by Bach, Norwegian Wood by the Beatles, Light my Fire by the Doors, Somewhere over the Rainbow, and even Rolling in the Deep by Adele. The concert presented a medley of heart throbbing classics that created a nostalgic euphoria!  Audiences of all eras present at the show grooved to the rhythms and harmonies performed in the ‘Jazz style’


While talking about Jazzification, Rajeev Raja said:  “NCPA and Jazz Addicts wanted to promote Jazz to an audience that is not so familiar with the genre. Thus the whole idea behind ‘Jazzification’ was to make Jazz more palatable to the audience, by ‘Jazzifying’ popular tunes down the ages. Tunes were created by great bands like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Doors etc.”

He further said , “It is our endeavor to popularize Jazz as much as we can, and concerts like ‘Jazzification’ are just one step in that direction. It brings entertainment and information together and it will be great to go on a ‘Jazzification’ tour. I am honored to be playing with the cream amongst musicians in Mumbai.”


Rajeev Raja (Concert Flute) | Rajeev is a self taught musician who learnt his early music listening to legendary flautists such as Hubert Laws, Herbie Mann, Joe Farrell and Harisprasad Chaurasia, to name a few. Over the years Rajeev has played with some of India’s finest musicians including Shankar Mahadevan, Taufiq and Fazal Quereshi, Salim of Salim-Sulaiman, Susmit Sen of Indian Ocean, and Barney Marsden of White Snake. Rajeev has also composed music for the Bollywood film,Bas Yunhi ,   runs his own sonic branding company called BrandMusiq and has his own Indo Jazz fusion band ‘Rajeev Raja Combine.


Merlin D’Souza (Piano/Keys) | Music Director/ Pianist/ Producer makes magic on her Keyboards. A classically trained pianist, Merlin is greatly sought after as a performer, composer and arranger for theatre, the ad world, films and corporates.  Jazz,Blues, Pop, Latin, Hindustani, Fusion and World Music are some of the many genres that she accredits to her ever widening repertoire.


Sanjay Divecha (guitar) |Sanjay Divecha is a composer and guitarist currently based out of Mumbai, India. Sanjay graduated in 1989 from the Guitar Institute of Technology (Musician’s Institute; M.I) in Los Angeles. During his time in L.A, Sanjay worked as a session musician, recording and performing music that showcased his Jazz, African, Brazilian, R&B and Gospel interests over a period of 15 years. The opportunities afforded to him were indispensible; he is fluent in a myriad of styles and the L.A experience has been invaluable for his work in jingles, scores and arrangements.


Karl Peters (Bass) | Karl Peters was born on Oct 26th 1955 in Madras (now Chennai). He grew up in a railway employees’ colony in Madras where most people played music to relieve the tedium of dreary day jobs. His father sang and played the guitar at gymkhanas and night clubs while his uncle was a drummer. After sundown, the youngsters would gather on their porches, guzzle the local brew, play and sing. Their musical upbringing revolved around the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Cliff Richards. Lata and Rafi were extra-terrestrial.


Rhys Sebastian (Alto/Soprano Sax) |Rhys is one of the country’s most prodigious saxophone talents. He’s the son of renowned pianist Merlin D’Souza, and grandson of cello player and music composer Sebastian D’Souza. He began singing when he was less than three years old, learnt the piano when he was 13 and then started on the clarinet. But he found his metier with the sax… for now.  Rhys made his debut as part of the 13-piece jazz group called The Big Band, playing alongside veteran city musicians such as his mother Merlin D’Souza, the Monserrate horn players and vocalists Shazneen, Vivian Pocha, Suzy Q, Bianca and Jazzy Joe his then guru


Ryan Sadri (Tenor Sax) | Ryan Sadri, saxophonist for Bombay’s leading indie band Bay City Lights (formerly known as Something Relevant) has been composing, recording original music and performing on stages/festivals across India and the world over for the past decade. Mentored by the India’s Sultan of Swing the late Micky Correa, Ryan later graduated from the Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music.


Karim Ellaboudi (Piano/Keys) | Karim is originally from Sudan, grew up in London, and has played the piano across UK and Europe with some of the region’s best artistes. With his basic training in Western Classical music, Karim was soon entranced by musical challenges that Jazz threw at him, and the personal interpretation he could bring to tunes through improvisation which is the cornerstone of Jazz. Karim is influenced by diverse genres of music from Jazz to Western Claasical to Drums and Bass, Funk and EDM.


Ruben Steijn (Drums) | Ruben Steijn, a native of Nienburg, Germany, has been studying the drums since the age of four. From 2006 to 2007, he studied at the Los Angeles Music Academy and in 2011, Mr. Steijn earned his Bachelor of Music from the Conservatory of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. With a full scholarship courtesy the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) he earned his master’s degree at Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with John Riley.




Rajendra Ganotra is the Editor of Spicy Stars Mumbai

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