I remember my visits to Mumbai by what book I was reading at the time. During the first trip in 2004, it was A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and it was his words that were in my head as I walked on the Haji Ali causeway. Another trip featured every street kid trying to sell me White Tiger. For a while, I bought any copy offered and had a bookshelf full of various bootleg versions. In 2013, it was all about the Mahatma.
I loved visiting the bookstores and stalls of Fort and talking with the old men wearing sweater vests who would write up intricate invoices for every purchase. One day, a tent appeared on Horniman Circle courtesy of the Gandhi Museum. Excited by the variety and the low prices, I bought a bunch of books. I still have Truth Is God (Rs 15), Village Swaraj (Rs 35) and All Men Are Brothers (Rs 40). My favorite is Village Swaraj, which deals with animal husbandry, diet and sanitation. It reminds me of the Book of Leviticus from the Bible.
I also bought Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth.
Last year, I made a jazz album using Indian melodic materials while leaving out Indian instrumentation and rhythms. The temporary title was The Raga & The Abstract Truth but I wasn’t totally happy with it. It seemed too cute. One day, my wife accused me of lying while telling a story and I replied, “I’m not lying, I’m experimenting with truth.” I had my title. In the United States, everyone thinks I’m referring to President Trump.
I wanted a different way of representing the tamboura drone and decided that bari and tenor sax would do the trick. There is an incredible Charles Mingus quintet of the early 1970s with the same instrumentation as my band which never recorded but they can be heard on this live performance. The low horn combination gives a really baddass sound.
Lisa Parrott, the marvellous bari sax player in my band is quite influenced by Ornette Coleman.His method of melodic invention called “harmolodics” has a certain affinity to the improvisations of Kishori Amonkar, who could also take one small phrase and in it find infinite variations.
My other major Indian inspiration is my Mumbai teacher, Ustad Raja Miyan.With his harsh and raspy voice, he invokes ancient deities and shamanistic rituals. He embodies the tradition that is worth keeping.
The last influence on this album is Beyonce. I enjoyed her videos for Lemonade and decided to make micro-videos for all of the songs.
The tunes on Experiments With Truthare metaphysical, comical or both. By the time we recorded, it was three years since I had been in Mumbai. The album is, among other things, my evocation of fading memories of Mumbai, with its chaos, action and occasional charms.
It’s the new year and it’s already time to plan your next holiday
Here are some great destinations for you to consider.
Vacation planning can get serious and strategic. Some people swear by the save and splurge approach that allows for one mini getaway and one dream holiday in a year. Others use the solo to family tactic and distribute their budget across solo trips, couple getaways and family holidays. Regardless of what strategy you implement to plan your trip, the holiday list is a handy tool for eager travellers. After having extensively studied the 2018 holiday list, here’s what we recommend:
March: 10 days of literature, art and culture in Toronto
For those you have pledged to read more or have more artistic experiences in 2018, Toronto offers the Biblio-Mat, the world’s first randomising vending machine for old books. You can find the Biblio-Mat, paper artefacts, rare books and more at The Monkey’s Paw, an antiquarian bookseller. If you can tear yourself away from this eclectic bookstore, head over to The Public Library in Toronto for the Merril Collection of over 72000 items of science fiction, fantasy magic realism and graphic novels. With your bag full of books, grab a coffee at Room 2046 – a café cum store cum studio that celebrates all things whimsical and creative. Next, experience art while cycling across the 80km Pan Am Path. Built for walking, running, cycling and wheeling, the Pan Am Path is a recreational pathway that offers a green, scenic and river views along with art projects sprinkled throughout the route. You can opt for a guided tour of the path or wander aimlessly for serendipitous discoveries.
Nothing beats camping to ruminate over all those new ideas collected over the past few days. Make way to Killarney Provincial Park for 2-3 days for some quiet time amongst lakes and hills. You can grab a canoe, go hiking or get back to nature, but don’t forget to bring a tent.
If you use the long-weekend of 2nd March to extend your trip, you get to experience the Toronto Light Festival as a dazzling bonus.
June: 10 days of culinary treats, happy feet and a million laughs in Chicago
Famous for creating the deep-dish pizza and improv comedy, Chicago promises to banish that mid-year lull. Get tickets for The Second City’s Legendary Laughs at The UP-Comedy Club - the company that gave us the legendary Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Key & Peele. All that laughter can sure work up an appetite, one that can be satiated with Lou Malnati’s classic deep-dish pizza. For dessert, head over to the Ferrara Original Bakery for mouth-watering treats.
Chicago in June is pleasant and warm enough to explore the outdoors and what better way to soak in the sunshine, than by having a picnic at the Maggie Daley Park. Picnic groves, wall climbing, mini golf, roller blading – the park offers a plethora of activities for individuals as well as families.
If you use the long weekend of 15th June, you can extend your trip to go for Country LakeShake – Chicago’s country music festival featuring Blake Shelton and Dierks Bentley.
August: 7 days in London for Europe’s biggest street festival
Since 1964, the Notting Hill Carnival has been celebrating London’s Caribbean communities with dancing, masquerade and music ranging from reggae to salsa. Watch London burst into colours and sparkle at the Notting Hill Carnival. Home to Sherlock Holmes and Charles Dickens Museum, London is best experienced by wandering through its tiny streets. Chance encounters with bookstores such as Foyles and Housemans, soaking in historic sights while enjoying breakfast at Arthur’s Café or Blackbird Bakery, rummaging the stalls at Broadway market or Camden Market – you can do so much in London while doing nothing at all.
The Museum of Brand, Packaging and Advertising can send you reminiscing about those old ads, while the Clowns Gallery Museum can give you an insight in clown-culture. If you’d rather not roam aimlessly, book a street-art tour run by Alternative London or a Jack the Ripper Tour.
October: 10 days of an out-of-body experience in Vegas
About 16 km south of the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and St. Rose Parkway in Henderson, lies a visual spectacle. Seven Magic Mountains, an art installation by Ugo Rondinone, stands far away from the wild vibe that people expect in Las Vegas and instead offers a sense of wonder. Imagine seven pillars of huge, neon boulders, stacked up against one another stretched towards the sky. There’s a lot more where that came from, in Las Vegas. Captivating colour at the permanent James Turrell exhibit in Louis Vuitton, outdoor adventures at the Bootleg Canyon and vintage shopping at Patina Décor offer experiences that are not usually associated with Vegas. For that quintessential Vegas show, go for Shannon McBeath: Absinthe for some circus-style entertainment. If you put the holiday list to use, you can make it for the risefestival – think thousands of lanterns floating in the sky, right above you.
It’s time to get on with the vacation planning for the new year. So, pin up the holiday list, look up deals on hotels and flights and start booking. Save money by taking advantage of the British Airways Holiday Sale. With up to 25% off on flight, the offer is available to book until 31st January 2018 for travel up to 31st December in economy and premium economy and up to 31st August for business class. For great fares to great destinations, see here.
This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of British Airways and not by the Scroll editorial team.