" Trio Benares "

“Exciting, virtuosic, sensual, beautiful!“
There has been a force of gravity between Indian classical music and jazz for many decades — the push and pull of improvisation, the exciting rhythmic language. Founded in 2014, the Trio Benares continues on this path of tradition.
As part of a seventh-generation musical family, sitar player Deobrat Mishra has reached a prominent place amongst his peers. In collaboration with his nephew Prashant Mishra, arising star among Indian tabla players, he forms a perfect unit. Roger Hanschel, surely one of the most extravagant, multifaceted saxophone players and composers of contemporary jazz, communes with the sensual and brilliant sound of Deobrat Mishra‘s sitar. In turn, Hanschel‘s rhythmic finesse finds its equivalent in the virtuosic tabla playing of Prashant Mishra.
While steeped in tradition, Trio Benares brings a freshness to both musical styles.

News paper critics citations ...

German Record Critics’ Prize

“Indian soundscapes combine with jazz. Trio Benares expands this remarkable story with a new, utterly contemporary chapter. In Trio Benares, Roger Hanschel, well-known for his work in the Kölner Saxophon Mafia and crossover projects of a more Western type, broadens his knowledge of North Indian music at the academy of the award-winning sitar virtuoso Deobrat Mishra. Deobrat’s nephew Prashant Mishra, a young star of the scene, came along with tabla percussion. Together the three have developed an energetic fusion that one has never heard like this before. Hanschel hopes to develop ‘an original third story’ out of these stylistic forms – mission accomplished, fully.”
(For the jury: Jürgen Frey)

“In his new band, Roger Hanschel seeks an encounter with North Indian classical music. His trio Benares plays with a temperament and a virtuosity that can rip a listener out of his or her seat.
Lightning fast themes, rousing solos, clever innovations – we haven’t heard such a convincing Indo-jazz project for a long time.”
Hans-Jürgen Schaal, Jazzthetik, July-August/2016

“… the young, well-traveled Indians and the experienced Hanschel display virtuoso playfulness: They slide from the dance-like to the contemplative, break out of the fine beauty of predetermined, vocal topics into a frenzy of self-invention. The way Hanschel takes his lifelong experience of jazz improvisation and respectfully links it with the modal characteristics of the Indian tradition – this must be called unique.”
(Ulrich Olshausen, FAZ, May 23, 2016)

“The Cologne saxophonist Roger Hanschel belongs to this small group of those who do not just scratch the surface, but go into depth in their encounters with Indian musicians. The trio Benares merges Western and Indian, with both sides approaching each other and without abandoning their own identity. Thus, it follows a tradition of Occidental-Indian cooperation by the greats such as the alto saxophonist Charlie Mariano, guitarist John McLaughlin and violinist Yehudi Menuhin.”
(Werner Stiefele, Rondo Magazin, May 20, 2016)

“Together the three musicians play a high-energy fusion of jazz and Indian music, reminiscent of Shakti as if Mahavishnu McLaughlin played alto saxophone on speed. Accompanied by two Indians who cheer him on. That‘s terrific music firmly rooted in the present.”
(Axel Bussmer, Kriminalakte, Maiy2016)

“… now, Hanschel takes up this thread. Along with Deobrat Mishra on sitar and Prashant Mishra on tabla, the saxophonist finally directs our attention to the potential of these soundscapes. The reduced cast focuses on Hanschel’s imaginative themes, which he mostly unfolds with the sitar, has dance over the tight tabla background, and then opens up for solo exploration. The long-standing interaction between the two Mishras, uncle and nephew, specifically ensures an at times dense, at others very spartan tonal web. In particular, when the alto saxophone and the sitar come together in common solos, they spark up fireworks of counterpoint.”
(Thorsten Meyer, Jazz Podium, May 2016)

„Sri Aurobindo Auditorium in Bharat Nivas, Pavilion of India in International Zone was crowded with music lovers who longed for something more. Although the title World Music Concert had promised maybe a bit more than a classical Indian music, what we got was a big surprise- an exciting fusion of Western European jazz saxophone with sitar and tabla.
The three excellent musicians brought some freshness and proved that music does speak universal language. Deobrat Mishra on sitar and Prashant Mishra on tabla both from a prominent family of musicians, and Roger Hanschel on alto saxophone known as a versatile jazz player showed that merging two styles can give something new…“
(Auroville Radio 29.3.2015)

„The duets of rhythms and tunes made the audiance to dive in the river of music and left them overwhelmed.the duet concert was presented by young sitarist Deobrat Mishra who has been spread the musical frangrance all over the world and Roger Hanschel of Germany on saxophone who played in surprisingly and presented Kajari and made the people spellbound. Both presented Raag Jog, Garati and Bhairavi and made the people bathed in the showers of Heart touching musical recital.“
(Times of India 27.3.2015)

„Music Lovers in the city were treated to a novel blend of jazz and indian classical music at the Assi Ghat with the musical group Trio Benares where the notes of tabla, saxophone and sitar together created some soulful music.
The concert attracted a large audience who enjoyed the music in the open platform on the assi ghat.“
(Banares Times, 27.3.2015)