“PAKISTAN’S BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB”,
SACHAL JAZZ, RETURNS TO FOLLOW UP LAST YEAR’S NUMBER ONE HIT
After topping the world music charts and playing alongside Wynton Marsallis at the Marcaic Jazz Festival in front of an audience of more than 10,000 people, the Sachal Studios Orchestra is back with ‘Jazz and All That’ – an album of their unique interpretations of jazz and beyond.
Performed by virtuosos who cut their teeth in Pakistan’s once-flourishing Lollywood film industry, ‘Jazz and All That’ brings together the most accomplished classical musicians of the subcontinent to play jazz classics – with a few surprises thrown in for good measure. As the Evening Standard said after their sold-out performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall last year, it “ought to be wrong but sounds so right”.
The album is dedicated to the memory of Dave Brubeck, and comes with a re-released bonus disc, ‘Interpretations of Jazz Standards and Bossa Nova’, which includes their famous take on Brubeck’s Take Five. The single held the top spot on the iTunes world music chart in the US and UK from July-September last year, and the video became an unexpected YouTube sensation.
The Sachal Jazz project is the brainchild of London-based Pakistani businessman Izzat Majeed. He tracked down the best musicians of Lollywood’s heyday, once revered but now hanging up their instruments in a more conservative Pakistan, and got them into the studio once again.
Majeed has overcome threats, dismal recording facilities and disheartened musicians, using jazz to breathe new life into Pakistan’s classical music scene. He’s taken the musicians out of obscurity to be heard across the globe, prompting comparisons with the Buena Vista Social Club.
‘Jazz and All That’ showcases the best of East meets West. It includes jazz standards that can’t fail to delight – try and listen to the Sachal Studios Orchestra’s rendition of The Pink Panther Theme without smiling – but there are some unexpected pleasures there too, including tracks by Stevie Wonder (You’ve Got it Bad Girl), The Beatles (Eleanor Rigby) and REM (Everybody Hurts). The video of their interpretation of Everybody Hurts is already clocking up views on YouTube.
The release is part of the most exciting year in Sachal Studios’ history. November will see The Sachal Studios Ensemble performing again with the great Wynton Marsalis, over two nights at New York’s Jazz at Lincoln centre.
By reimagining some of the best-loved songs of the West, the Sachal Jazz project is keeping Pakistan’s traditional music, musicians and instruments alive. This is Majeed’s labour of love, but he takes its success in his stride. “I’m not a crusader,” he says, “I just want to listen to music that really shakes my soul and feels like great fun. That’s the reason I do this. And hopefully, other people will like it too.”