As you might have guessed, I am going to talk about India (again )But we are going to compare a modern Jazz performance this time. Some background: In Indian classical music; improvisation is a highly prized skill. Almost always, performers of “standard” literature are expected to improvise in the beginning of the piece and as it develops. The vocal improvisations are either on an open vowel (such as ah) or using “sargam” which is the Indian equivalent to our “solfege” system (just so you know sargam works out as: Sa, Re, Ga, Ma, Pa, Dha, Ni, Sa, if you hear any of these syllables in a performance of Indian music, chances are it is an improvisation)
I want to post first a jazz performance. I know what you might be thinking; "didn't Ravi Shankar advise all westerners not to try and draw parallels between western Jazz and Hindustani Classical music?" - Far be it for me to try and go toe to toe with Pandit Shankar, but the thing is; I see parallels between all music. All music has at least some level of similarity and is therefore; worth comparing, so long as those comparisons are of an intellectual nature and not a condescending one.
Below is a video of an awesome young lady, her name is Esperanza Spalding and this is from the 2008 Newport Jazz festival:
Lets now compare this with a classical Indian piece sung by Ashwini Bhide Deshpande, and after you watch, please think of similarities and differences: