September 12, 2020 –
Phil Scarff is pioneering the performance of North Indian classical music on soprano saxophone, exquisitely capturing the music's subtlety and depth. His performance at the famed Tansen Samaroh, Gwalior, India, with Saskia Rao de Haas was "The highlight of the festival." [Dainik Bhaskar]. Indian classical appearances include India's Nehru Center, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. and Dadar-Matunga Cultural Centre (Mumbai); Saptak School of Music (Ahmedabad); Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture (Kolkata); ICCR Theater and India Habitat Centre (Delhi); and JKK (Jaipur). Phil is a master jazz saxophonist, and leads world-jazz ensembles, Natraj and the Lewis Porter-Phil Scarff Group. World-jazz appearances include India's JazzYatra, and Prayojana International Music Festival; Ghana’s PANAFEST; and Boston Globe Jazz Festival (USA). Phil is featured on 40 acclaimed CDs/DVDs, and was named Best Instrumentalist in Foundations TV Red Carpet Awards (USA).
Scarff has performed with icons of Indian classical music including Ronu Majumdar, Shashank, Kadri Gopalnath, Umayalpuram K. Sivaraman, Trichy Sankaran, Chitravina Ravikiran; as well as African master drummers Godwin Agbeli, Abubakari Lunna, Nani Agbeli, and Lamine Toure. Phil performs and records with creative jazz ensembles including Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, Jazz Composers Alliance, Filmprov, and OddSong.
Scarff received extensive training Hindustani music in Pune, India, from vocalist Pt. Shreeram Devasthali, leading sundri artist Pt. Suryakant Khaladkar, and shehnai master Pt. Shyamrao Lonkar, and in Boston, USA, from sitar master Peter Row, and vocalists Kalpana Mazumdar and Warren Senders. Phil appeared on 'The Morning Show' on SAAM TV. All India Radio broadcast his Hindustani performance, under the auspices of the Sangeet Research Academy. He has received awards from Music Forum and Indo-US Cultural Council (Mumbai).
Scarff has presented workshops at institutions such as New England Conservatory, Indian Musicological Society (Mumbai), Berklee College, Tufts Univ., Kalakshetra Foundation (Chennai, India), Univ. of North TX, Univ. of OK, Lawrence Univ., Bowdoin College, Dartmouth College, Guelph Jazz Festival, Univ. of RI, MIT, LearnQuest Festival, Boston Univ., and Berks Jazz Fest.
"Phil Scarff and Saskia Rao de Haas… enthralled and captivated the audience… They played… with such finesse that the crowd was left spellbound… Transported listeners to a state of pure delight." - Raj Express, Gwalior, India, review of performance at Tansen Sangeet Samaroh
"Intoxicating music… Phil Scarff's rendition of [twilight] Raga Puriya Dhanashri… created the image of a multi-colored sunset lighting up the sky." – Sakal, Pune, India
“Indian classical music on the saxophone! Phil Scarff... played different ragas with finesse... enthralled the audience... subtle and appealing.” – Times of India
"Phil Scarff… great imagination… sensitively traditional… pleasing and infectious." – Songlines
“Phil Scarff: a scintillating performance… His beautiful display of the intricacies of Indian classical music… thrilled the audience… touched the hearts of the listeners.” – Sakal, Kolhapur, India
“Phil Scarff… weaving magic through his saxophone with Raga Puriya… soul-stirring… sonorous… Raga Bihag was refreshing and delightful. He played… with great finesse and mesmerized the audience.” – Deccan Herald, Bengaluru, India
Tabla Player Amit Kavthekar
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