“…Mittal plays a mean sax and flute and definitely takes some of the best solos I have heard in a while.” Greta Cornett--Scene Magazine
“A mover and shaker of 2008.” Westword Magazine (Denver)
“A fiery alto saxophonist and prolific composer…” The Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
“…simply brilliant.” (Colorado Music Buzz)
“…the same inventiveness [as Indian music author Peter Lavezzoli]…”
Hindustan Times (Kolkata, India).
A twelve-movement suite performed continuously, Videsh was inspired by Mittal’s first trip to India, his father’s homeland. Each movement programmatically represents a different aspect of the experience and musically draws from an eclectic array of styles including jazz, modern grooves/effects, the avant-garde, and elements of Indian music. VIDESH will be a unique musical experience for audiences.
Hailed as a “talented young player” with “the skills to go far” by Westword (Denver), Aakash Mittal has been making a name for himself at home and abroad. His debut CD “Possible Beginnings” has been acclaimed as “…simply brilliant” (Colorado Music Buzz) and “an amazing lineup of all original music.” (Scene Magazine) Mittal has also been praised for having “…the same inventiveness [as author Peter Lavezzoli]…” by Hindustan Times (Kolkata, India). This stems from his approach to composition and improvisation, where Mittal seeks to create music that relates to his diverse background of both American and East Indian heritage, drawing inspiration as much from straight-ahead jazz and the avant-garde as from musical traditions of India and modern grooves.
Aakash Mittal’s primary ensemble, “The Aakash Mittal Quartet,” performs all original music at such Colorado venues as Dazzle Restaurant and Lounge, Bliss Café, Vita, the Ft. Collins Jazz Experience, the UNC Jazz Festival, the Boulder Creek Festival, the Grand Junction Jazz and Arts Festival, Bohemian Nights at New West Fest, and the Estes Park Jazz Festival. In 2009 the quartet toured and performed at the Cultural Center of Chicago, The Dakota Jazz Club in Minneapolis, Box Awesome in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Studio 222 in Fargo, Minnesota. Mittal has also performed at the Oxford Bookstore in Kolkata, India with renowned *tabla* player Pandit Tanmoy Bose.
Aakash Mittal has composed over 30 pieces for Jazz quartet and was commissioned to write a piece for the “Ethos West” chamber orchestra series that combines the instrumentation of a Jazz sextet with Indian instruments *tabla*and *sitar*. To expand his knowledge of the Indian tradition, Mittal traveled to Kolkata, India in 2009 and studied Classical Indian music with world renowned artists Pandit Tanmoy Bose and Prattyush Banerjee.
JAZZ | BRET SAUNDERS
Jazz saxman Mittal finds a satisfying Indian fusion
Coloradan's new CD, "Videsh," blends bright harmonies, beats
By Bret Saunders
More often than not, attempts to fuse jazz with other global styles fall flat. Even when the participants are sincere, the results can be kitschy and unsatisfying, arriving at a compromise where nothing new or truly beautiful is created.
That's not the case with young Colorado saxophonist and composer Aakash Mittal, whose ambitious new self-produced CD, "Videsh," is a winning fusion project. Because of the balance between tough improvisation and bright harmonies coupled with thorough investigations into the rhythms of the music of India, he's already arrived at his own place in the jazz community, where it's difficult to establish an identity.
"I'm trying to create a vocabulary that draws on both (jazz and Indian music)," he says. "That was totally my goal."
Mittal finds fertile common ground between the two traditions. At points, he delves into balladry with a tone reminiscent of saxophonist Charles Lloyd. Sometimes the performances on "Videsh" — which, according to his liner notes, is a Hindi word that can be translated as "foreign, abroad" — rock and swing confidently, with the dedicated support of his quartet of locals: guitarist Matt Fuller, bassist Jean-Luc Davis and drummer Josh Moore. A lot of the disc's success comes from the interplay of the group of unknown (for now) performers.
"They're really excited about learning the Eastern stuff," Mittal says of his group. "It's very collaborative, even though I'm credited with writing the tunes."
Mittal is enthusiastic about continuing along the path that began when he "checked out a few Indian records that my dad had" when he was in high school. "I was raised with certain (Indian) traditions but also in a very American way."
The music on "Videsh" could be seen as the result of that upbringing. It also points toward new possibilities in improvised music. Keep an ear on this guy.
The Aakash Mittal Quartet:
A musical journey to India
Thursday, Oct 22nd, 2009
By Dani White
There is a bold new kind of music emerging in Colorado. The Aakash Mittal Quartet, influenced by the muse of modern day India where customary meets contemporary, has fashioned a unique and worldly blend of sound. The band is an independent outfit and will soon be self-releasing their second album, “Videsh.”
Mittal, the band’s innovator, was born in Dallas, Texas, was raised in Loveland and is of Indian descent. The diversity of the artist’s background has inspired his creative approach to music. A lifelong fascination with instruments and his father’s native land of East India is reflected in Mittal’s most recent composition. He suggests his ensemble is “trying to create music that goes along with the diverse culture of America and the heritage of immigration.”
The word “Videsh” roughly translates to “foreign abroad.” The music of the latest album illustrates Mittal’s initial journey to India with a progressive fusion ranging from modern jazz to traditional Indian styles. The quartet has created a musical voyage representative of an experience in an exotic country where new world and old world unite for the first time.
“Videsh” is free flowing and continuous expression that begins with the pure timbre of a few resonating notes. The album tells a musical story interwoven with improvised instrumentals and authentic background noise – voices at the market place, traffic and a swirl of ambient sounds of daily life.
Mittal relays the sounds of flute, saxophone, clarinet and the electronically recaptured drone of a tambura gourd, as well as recordings of the natural Indian world. Matt Fuller adds guitar, Jean-Luc Davis the bass and Josh Moore completes the quartet with his drum work. A mellow and moody prelude morphs into a frenzy of sound as “Videsh” pulls listeners straight into the streets of India.