The Bodhisattwa Trio ft. Jona Vantard : Dark Passages

The Bodhisattwa Trio ft. Jona Vantard : Dark Passages

By Shaswata Kundu Chaudhuri

Photo courtesy : Nishit Arora

How many of you have played Prince of Persia : Warrior Within? If you have, you’ll definitely remember The Dahaka (a gigantic, ghastly beast) and the blood curdling chases. Now, imagine The Dahaka is a musical spirit – you get The Bodhisattwa Trio. Unrelentingly intense, primal and terrifying, their musical onslaught on the brain and nerves is massive. A very masculine force.

Jona Vantard, a saxophonist from Berlin, added a feminine touch to their music with his graceful playing on an alto saxophone. The cunning and diabolical beauty of a feminine spirit united with the band’s masculine terror trifecta, to create a truly evil entity. This happened on 24 August 2017, at Phoenix – The Thursday Jazz Encounter, and I was there to witness it.

Photo Courtesy : Phoenix Bar/Club

Written below is what I saw inside my mind as they played their set. Let me take you through it.


Unearthly sounds, increasing in volume, wove an uncertain mood- like smoke seeping into a place and filling it, subtly; when suddenly a heavy riff broke out of the reverie, as Transcendence flexed its muscles. Like an uncontained, unbearable feeling, the music built, tense, waiting to burst forth. This beautiful, murky chaos reached its pinnacle and broke, dissolving into itself at the end.


Wake up! Run! It’s The Fugitive. Get those feet moving, because it’s coming on faster with every passing second. Dodging, jumping, climbing and running. Always running!

Wait. There’s a wall ahead. Jump and run again. Run until they are left behind; until you don’t know where you are; until the pace takes you over. Run faster and faster, till you’re over the edge!


A big, booming bass line permeated the consciousness. Softly, a spacey chord rose up, taking over the existing sound. The saxophone joined as well, playing the same lines as the guitar. Cronos – The Revisit.

The mood was created, placid in nature, growing bigger with every passing cycle, more sounds adding, filling up the spaces. The saxophone found a place in it masterfully, to work its solo magic, evoking an age old scenario of musicians playing majestic tunes in some king’s court. Gradually, all the sounds joined together, reaching unbelievable proportions before purging into the old, familiar mood, out of which a torrent of notes flew out, like bows from an arrow.

Photo Courtesy : Phoenix Bar/Club


We take the passage to the underworld, right into the Heart of Darkness. The menace laden air got heavier with every bar, the notes calling out to the devil. The drums went haywire – beating, crashing and thrashing wildly. Like a spirit possessed! The guitar and the bass tore on, feasting on the destruction. But the saxophone hung back – like a lone ray of melancholic hope – creating its own space amid the desolation. Try it might, but it could not escape. Consumed by the raging fire, it emitted ghoulish screams and added fuel, turning the fire into an inferno. Until finally, all of it burned out, along with the incinerated heart.


Convergence. This track is an inherent result of the trifecta being in sync with each other, oblivious of everything else. The saxophone had a gruesome duelling session with the drums, before the guitar went absolutely bat shit crazy! It went deeper and deeper, until it was in the zone of non coherent thought; absolute blank state, only mouth agape wonder. All of this leading up to the final big bang.


Initially, there was a brief respite from the overbearing dark moods, but a more insightful glance into the dark hearts of humans. The thought behind the track Triple Standards is that people have double standards, with the internet or online personas adding the third face. Multitude of effects dazzled the mind, overdosing the senses and effectively crippling its abilities.The guitar howled away, starkly shouting at intervals, probably horrified at understanding the truth of the hidden knives behind the sweet smiles.

Photo Courtesy : Phoenix Bar/Club


Written in remembrance of the countless souls who lost their lives in the Holocaust, The Last Train is one of the most deadliest things that the band has created. It is so intense that some cannot take it.

Wave after wave of spine chilling soundscapes washed over the mind, making it cringe and wince at the unbearable horror. I closed my eyes, and just gave in. It felt like a cold hand was touching my heart. When it ended, the only evidence that remained was the raised hair all over my body.


Screams after screams pierced the air. Anger and rage poured out relentlessly. Time for impending battle! The finale of The American Dream – the lead up to World War III. The screams continued, as solemn salutes at the last rites of countless souls that will die. The guitar took over the role of death – gliding smoothly in the smoky skies over demolished fields. It looked down into the mixture of horror and wonder, smiling cynically, as The American Dream puts the world to everlasting sleep, while the music wore the cloak of rancour, reeking of the smell burning bodies.

That was the last song for the night, but at the blown-away crowd’s insistence, the musicians assented to play one more track – 0305, a song echoing translucent dreams and secret psychedelia. After the exhaustive darkness, this was a strange peace.

Photo Courtesy : Phoenix Bar/Club

Check out The Fugitive :

2018-09-18T06:32:13+00:00 December 27th, 2017|Band|

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