When the Washington City Paper announced its 2016 “Jazzies” – nods to the best of the best for jazz in the city – Sriram Gopal was not expecting to see his name in print. His album, The Fourth Stream – along with Mark G. Meadows’ To the People – was selected as Recording of the Year.
“I was shocked and humbled,” he said. “Everyone else on the list is a ‘real musician’ while I only do this semi-professionally.”
A testament to the part-time endeavor if ever there was one, Sriram’s effort was real enough for the judges – The Fourth Stream received praise as “audacious world fusion, featuring the best ringers in town”, and DC’s jazz virtuosi gave a collective thumbs-up.
“Better than winning the award was the reaction I received from my peers in the local jazz community,” he said. “It felt so satisfying to know that people whose opinion I hold in high esteem actually dug the record.”
Sriram has brought his Fourth Stream project to Bossa’s front room regularly over the years. The shows often feature familiar faces such as Bobby Muncy on sax, Gene D’Andrea (keys), Kevin Pace (bass), and Bossa’s own Rob Coltun on guitar, in addition to a surprise guest or two, making for a spontaneous mélange of jazz and multicultural arrangements. Sriram’s Indian heritage heavily informs his own contributions to the performances, but he notes that the vibe is international.
“There was a movement in jazz during the 1970s called Third Stream, where elements of classical music blended with American jazz. I started using the name The Fourth Stream to reflect the addition of influences from the rest of the globe.”
Sriram likes bringing his band to Bossa on Sundays so that the musicians on the roster and those passing through can participate in an inimitable improv session that makes for a fun end-of-the-week hang. Patrons get to experience Sriram’s global grooves while indulging in the gifts of some of the best jazz cats the 202 has to offer.
“Bossa has such a warm atmosphere, and it strives to be a community space,” he said. “I have a repertoire of material from which I draw and try to invite players that would sound good within that framework. Thankfully, there are plenty of talented musicians in DC, so the pool is pretty deep.”
Don’t miss The Fourth Stream on Sunday, March 19th!
story © yillah 2017
photo courtesy of Sriram Gopal