When the sitar met the saxophone

Ever since John Coltrane heard Ravi Shankar and began incorporating the sitar master’s concepts into his own sound, Indian music has maintained a steady influence on jazz. Drummer Dan Weiss works that influence into his repertoire in a wholly unique fashion, however, taking on the challenge of transcribing compositions for tabla — the Indian hand drums — onto a full drum kit.

“I try to get the flavor of the composition while maintaining a jazz sound,” Weiss says. “I’ve tried to create a different language for myself that would enable me to improvise and feel sound and rhythm in a different way.”

A rising star on the modern jazz scene, Weiss has played with the Village Vanguard Orchestra, legendary saxophonist Lee Konitz and Ravi Coltrane (John’s son) along with many of his most innovative peers. Since 1998, he’s studied with Indian tabla virtuoso Pandit Samir Chatterjee, whose influence, Weiss says, has been “vast, to say the least. It shaped a lot of who I am as a musician.”

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