Sundar Viswanathan (Sundar's Induswest Project)
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Sundar Viswanathan (Sundar's Induswest Project)

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The best kept secret in music



“Mr. Viswanathan shows the full range of his talent, and his command of the instrument’s history while he infuses his personal style and plays with a real depth of feeling. Like any great jazz soloist, each nuance and phrase contributes to the whole and builds with logic and passion, not unlike Eric Dolphy” Mark Kirby, (ALTAR-NATIVE (NYC on-line magazine), 2000) - ALTARNATIVE

"“Dignity of Labour Ensemble / St. Dirt Elementary School / Barnyard Drama”"

“As Toronto played host to the International Association of Jazz Educators, there was a counter-festival afoot where the real schoolin’ was taking place… The Creative Improviser’s Assembly (CIA).. stretched over three nights at Oasis… The highlights were the few improvised moments of the set, a great unaccompanied sax solo by Sundar Viswanathan” David Dacks, EXCLAIM! January 30, 2003 - EXCLAIM!

"Swinging from Sudbury to New York to Around the World"

“Dr.Dar loosens up and blows on his alto sax, assuredly teasing the audience with his musical references…I sharpen up as he shifts to soprano sax, now wailing and burning” Bonnie Kogos, (SUDBURY STAR, September 22, 1997) - Sudbury Star

"The Musical Mazes of Muhal Richard Abrams"

“Oldfotalk is an nostalgic, meandering line presented in several attractive voicings
with Viswanathan now playing torrid soprano sax” Bob Blumenthal (BOSTON GLOBE,
Wed. November 22, 1991)
- Boston Globe

"Group Tests Limits of Modern Music"

"..reminiscent of Johnny Griffin in his phrasing.." Alex Frissel, Campus Times Online, University of
Rochester, March 24, 2005
- University of Rochester


"Hope and Infinity" (In-sound records)


Feeling a bit camera shy


Sundar's Induswest Project begins at the intersection of Jazz, Indian, and Brazilian music influences. Featuring thoughtful compositions by its leader, composer, saxophonist and vocalist Sundar Viswanathan, the band presents an innovative take on jazz-world fusion. Bandmembers bring experiences as leaders in the Jazz and World music scenes in New York and Toronto, adding depth to the sound. The music is alternately hard-driving swing and sweeping melodicism that is ultimately effective and memorable.

Sundar's BIO

It is not often that someone comes along who is equally comfortable in the cerebral world of academics and the world of the creative artist. Sundar Viswanathan is proof that jazz education works – in his almost 20 years as a full time musician he has not only performed with some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians, but in the same time has completed a Ph.D. degree in Jazz Performance from New York University in Manhattan, New York. His research focus was on the influential Blue Note Records Period of tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson. In addition, Sundar was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at York University in Toronto.
From an early age, there was some sort of a magnetic attraction between Sundar and music. His family was quick to foster this talent, encouraging him to sing at public functions and family gatherings from the tender age of 2 years. It was only natural that he would continue on this path with increasing focus, eventually picking up the alto saxophone by the age of 14.
Sundar has had valuable experience as a bandleader, plying his trade in jazz clubs and concert halls throughout the USA, Canada and Asia. In a recent successful five-city tour of Japan, Sundar was featured as a leader with exceptional Japanese musicians. Other performances that proved rewarding included those at New York’s ‘Alice Tully Hall’, ‘The Blue Note’ and ‘Birdland’; the ‘Montreal Bistro’, ‘Living Arts Center’ and ‘Rex Hotel’ in Toronto, and the famous ‘Wally’s’ and ‘Willow Jazz Club’ in Boston. As a sideman and/or leader he has had the fortune to perform or record with Wynton Marsalis, Kenny Werner, Marcus Belgrave, Muhal Richard Abrams, Donald Byrd, John Hicks, Billy Hart, Jim McNeely, Terry Clarke, Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Chris Potter, John Abercrombie and Hugh Fraser to give a few examples.
Sundar is in the process of releasing an album of original music inspired by South Asian music and Jazz. The album features heavy-hitters from the Canadian scene, including Kevin Turcotte, Kelly Jefferson, David Braid, Andrew Downing and Anthony Michelli. “Hope and Infinity” showcases all-original material by the alto saxophonist and includes as guest artist guitarist Rez Abbasi from New York City. Sundar’s music embraces musical aesthetics ranging from Jazz to South Asian, African, Brazilian and Middle Eastern influences. “I think it’s important to be flexible as a musician nowadays – it is a real advantage to be able to adapt to any musical situation. That doesn’t mean that one has to abandon musical taste and artistic judgement; if the musician has developed his or her outer and inner sound whatever she plays will be infused with that personality. Tenor Saxophonist Joe Henderson was able to sound like himself in all that he did: fusion, r&b, free-form and jazz. That’s what makes an artist great.” Sundar, likewise, has absorbed the stylistic characteristics of many genres: blues, r&b, funk, classical, folk, jazz, ethnic styles, jazz and big-band. His affiliations over the years with groups that have performed these musics has added to his stylistic ‘bag’, though ultimately jazz has been this saxophonist/singer’s calling card.
Sundar’s musical experiences have earned him a number of honours and awards. He has been the recipient of a number of Canada Council for the Arts grants, including the coveted ‘Grant for Individual Performers’. He has attended the Banff School for the Arts on scholarship on several occasions, and received numerous awards from NYU, including the ‘Frank Foster Award’, the ‘Wayne Shorter Award’ and Graduate Scholarships.
There seems to be no greater contradiction than a jazz man with a saxophone in one hand and a scholarly text in the other; however, such a man has arrived. He has traveled the road of an artist while keeping his mind open to academic higher learning. But it doesn’t take a textbook to hear that what he is doing is something special.