Arun Ramamurthy Trio


Arun Ramamurthy Trio

Jul 08, 2023
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory

2040 Addison Street, 2040 Addison Street

Arun Ramamurthy Trio (ART) brings a fresh approach to age-old South Indian classical music. Boundaries are blurred in this organic and seamless integration of styles as the group expands on traditional forms in explosive, improvisational flights of fancy. The trio freely explores the kindred spirit of raga music and jazz, resulting in a deeply invigorating and spiritual experience.

ART’s collaborative sound is driven by the propulsive rhythm section of drummer Sameer Gupta and electric bassist Damon Banks. Arun’s newly commissioned work from CMA’s New Jazz Works, “New Moon Suite” shines a light on the teachings and wisdom of our ancestors.

Featured performance venues have include Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz Gallery, Bimhuis (Amsterdam), LantarenVenster (Rotterdam), Ragas Live Festival at Pioneer Works, Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cornelia Street Cafe, Brooklyn Raga Massive and more.

“…a beautiful, exotic, ear-opening listening experience.” (All About Jazz)

Band Members & Instrumentation:

Arun Ramamurthy – violin / compositions

Damon Banks – electric bass

Sameer Gupta – drums

Artist Bios

Arun Ramamurthy is a multifaceted violinist, composer and educator based in Brooklyn, NY. Rooted in South Indian classical “raga” music, Arun is a versatile musician, performing internationally in both traditional Carnatic and Hindustani settings, as well as blurring genres with his own innovative projects like the acclaimed Arun Ramamurthy Trio. Arun studied under the celebrated violinist brothers, Sri Mysore Nagaraj & Dr. Mysore Manjunath, the distinguished violinist Sri. Ananthakrishnan as well as many early years with western classical violinist Jim Mate.

He has shared the stage with luminaries like Dr. M. Balamuralikrishna, Sudha Ragunathan, Reggie Workman, Kenny Werner, Jamey Haddad, Flute Shashank, Amir ElSaffar, Hamid Drake, Mashkoor Ali Khan, Adam Rudolph, Hamid Al-Saadi, Subhankar Banerjee, Martha Redbone, Awa Sangho amongst others. He has performed and recorded with a wide range of musical genres including Jazz, Arabic Maqam, Afro-Cuban, Malian, American folk, Western classical, and other creative and improvisational styles. Arun’s music has brought him prestigious stages like Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Celebrate Brooklyn and many more.

He leads the Arun Ramamurthy Trio, an ensemble that brings a fresh approach to Carnatic classical repertoire and features Arun’s original composition work. Praised by All About Jazz as “a beautiful, exotic, ear-opening listening experience” ART is about to record their 2nd studio album in December 2022, featuring newly commissioned music. He also co-leads a violin duo project with wife and violinist Trina Basu, reimagining string chamber music through the lens of Indian classical raga. The duo plans to release their debut studio album “Nakshatra” on January 20, 2022. Other notable projects Arun is involved with include Raga Maqam (ensemble with Amir ElSaffar bridging the worlds of Raga and Maqam) and Ragmala Go: Organic Orchestra & BRM (large ensemble led by percussionist / composer Adam Rudolph).

As a composer, Arun has created new works for his Trio (ART), scores for theatrical productions such as Tom Stoppard’s Indian Ink, composition for Indian classical dance, and for the pioneering musician’s collective Brooklyn Raga Massive. Arun was recently commissioned by Chamber Music America’s New Jazz Works grant to create music for his ensemble, Arun Ramamurthy Trio. Arun was also commissioned through New Music USA to compose original work for Malini Srinivasan’s ‘Appeasing Radhika’, an ambitious project investigating Devadasi lives in Indian Classical performing arts.

Arun is a co-founder and co-Artistic Director of Brooklyn Raga Massive, a progressive genre-bending collective of musicians rooted-in and inspired-by the classical music of India. He created and produced the innovative series Carnatic Sundays at the iconic West Village haunt, Cornelia Street Cafe. Throughout his career, Arun has curated and performed in hundreds of concerts bringing together music from all over the world.

Arun also is a dedicated educator, teaching Carnatic music privately to children and adult students, professional string players and instrumentalists from various genres. He conducts workshops and has held teaching-artist residencies working with student ensembles at Oberlin Conservatory of Music, Brooklyn College’s Jazz & Big Band program, NYU, Yale University, Sarah Lawrence University, and many others.

Born and raised in The Bronx, New York Damon Banks has evolved into a “world musician” in the truest sense of the word. Growing up in New York City, he was exposed to all aspects of the arts at an early age, as well as a wide range of musical genres, approaches and “schools of thought”. At 14 years old, Damon was fortunate to enroll in the prestigious “Fame School” (High School of Music & Art – as a visual artist) Those 4 years were some of the most inspirational and impactful years of his life (musically and artistically) Upon graduation from Fisk University (B.A.Music) he decided to pursue a career in music full time. Since then, he has evolved into an “in-demand” bassist and composer, and has worked with some of the music industry’s most creative artists, innovative musicians and brightest stars. His ability to adapt creatively and remain open-minded has led him into countless collaborations with genre-bending, musical trendsetters worldwide.

Some of these artists include:
George Benson, Peter Gabriel, Caetano Veloso, Angelique Kidjo, Chico Hamilton, Hassan Hakmoun, Arto Lindsay, Marc Ribot, Loose Ends, Leo Wadada Smith, The Neville Brothers, Andre de Shields, Bobby Womack, C.J. Chenier, Saul Williams, Noel Pointer, Ronny Jordan, Majek Fashek, KRS-ONE, Brooklyn Raga Massive, Phyllis Hyman, George Howard, Karsh Kale, DJ. SPOOKY, The Frankfurt Ballet, The Weather Girls, Eric Gadd, Min Xiao-Fen, Ntozake Shange, Me’lissa Morgan, Lawrence “Butch” Morris, Roxane Butterfly, Angela Bofill and Adam Rudolph (to name a few)

In addition to numerous tours and recordings, his bass playing appears on these soundtracks:
“Footsteps In Africa” (Kiahkeya films) and “Muppets from Space” (Henson / Sony films)

As a composer, Damon wrote, produced and arranged his 2014 debut LP “Travelguides”, and several tracks on Violinist Gwen Laster’s “Sneak Preview” / “I Hear You Smiling” / “Gameboard” records. He also co-wrote the singles “Where Are You Now” (George Benson) and “Kiss Of A Stranger” (Miki Howard)

Lately, Damon has been an international teaching artist, and has led and / or workshops and facilitated grant-supported teaching initiatives for: The El Sistema Organization, Bard College, Interlochen School of the Arts, Cal Arts, Wesleyan University, St. Ann’s School and Medger Evers College.

Sameer Gupta is a first generation Indian American artist, parent, entrepreneur and educator. Gupta is also known as one of the few percussionists simultaneously representing the traditions of American jazz on the drum set and Indian classical music on tabla. While living in Brooklyn, his own experiences as an artist and his love of many kinds of music from both America and India helped inspire Sameer to become a co-founder of Brooklyn Raga Massive, as well as one of the co-founders of Raga Kids, an Indian music for toddlers education program. Sameer has created a unique musical sound by combining traditional and modern improvisational styles drawing from his dual Indian and American heritage, and has already established himself as an original voice in music today. From bebop to avant-garde jazz, and European classical percussion to North Indian classical tabla, Gupta continues to compose and perform music from a true multi-cultural perspective that now bridges several continents.

Sameer has had the pleasure to make music with many great musicians including 2019 NEA Jazz Master recipient Reggie Workman, Marc Cary, Jon Batiste, Ron Carter, Kaoru Watanabe, Prince Lasha, Rogerio Boccato, Kenny Garret, Harry Belafonte, Adam Rudolph, Charlie Burnham, Brandee Younger, Casey Benjamin, Martha Redbone, Awa Sangho, Falu Shah, Adam Rudolph, Rez Abbasi, Kiran Ahluwalia, Wallace Roney, Karsh Kale, Pandit Krishna Bhatt, Pandit Chitresh Das, Jason Samuels Smith, Pandit Ramesh Mishra and numerous other luminaries.

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