When composer and multi-instrumentalist Bart Stenhouse and percussionist Abe Stewart first crossed paths, the musical chemistry and deep friendship was immediate. In each other they saw a kindred musical spirit, someone else who shared a great sense of adventure and keenness to explore the rich possibilities of combining different musical traditions from around the world into a new unique artform that would truly be their own.
Blue Benares is the debut jazz fusion album for Bart and Abe. It reflects their deep love and passion for the improvisational music forms of Jazz, Flamenco, and Indian Classical Raga music. Blue Benares blends these musical cultures together to create a unique sonic landscape that transports the listener to far off places and connects with their spirit in a deep and meaningful way. It was recorded after a month of intense study with Indian Classical Maestro Pandit Debashish Bhattacharya in Kolkata, India.
The album was recorded in Varanasi in Central India and features violin virtuoso Pandit Sukhdev Prasad Mishra, Siddha Veena virtuoso Siddharta Banerjee and All-India Radio Scholarship winner Siddhant Mishra on tabla.
Remarkably, the album was created over a nine day period, with only five days spent rehearsing and arranging the music and four days spent in the studio. It showcases the skill of some of India’s finest musicians as they worked in partnership with Bart and Abe to create a raw, original and heartfelt arrangement of each song.