QUEENSBURGH’S Riley Joseph Giandhari, also known as Riley G, is on the brink of releasing his debut jazz fusion album, The Riley G Collective - Joseph’s Mind.
Giandhari, 24, started playing the drums at age three and was mainly inspired by his father, Pravin, who is also a professional drummer.
Apart from studying music, the composer and arranger is currently a session drummer who records and performs with various musicians and artists.
He has performed with artists such as Hugh Masekela, Neil Gonsalves, Brian Simpson, and Raphael Clarkson and at events, including the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival, the Oslo Jazz Festival, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, and the Zakifo Music Festival.
In 2018, he won two awards at the SAMRO Overseas Scholarship for Composers Competition.
His debut album, The Riley G Collective - Joseph’s Mind, recently released.
“The name of my band is The Riley G Collective, and the album title is Joseph’s Mind. Although my album consists of various styles of music, it can be classified as jazz fusion. It is a 10 track album,” he said.
“The inspiration behind this album comes from the band members, who are featured on it. I formed this collective of virtuoso musicians and wrote the music with them in mind.
“Because of the diverse musicians, the music has a diverse sound.
“Apart from the complex rhythmic, harmonic and melodic structures, there is always a sense of musical interaction and conversation taking place, which encompasses spontaneity and self-expression.”
Commenting on what drew him to music and what he loved most about the art, Giandhari said: “I love music because it is a universal language and can connect people of different ethnicities. I also love music because it is a message in itself and has the power to heal.
“The interplay of rhythm, harmony, and melody in a piece fascinates me to the point where I find myself composing in the process.
“My first musical inspiration is my dad. When I was younger, I used to travel with him to watch him play and I knew I would like to be in a band someday. Now I have my own. I am also inspired by music icons such as Chick Corea, Fela Kuti, Michael Jackson, John Coltrane, and Tony Williams.”
Giandhari said he always “gigged” throughout South Africa.
“I am a session drummer and I perform with many artists, including my own band. At the moment, I am planning my album launch and the date will soon be confirmed.
“While in the process of completing my Master’s degree in music composition, I am also recording the music for my second album.”