Atlas Maior and special guests

Sunday, July 24th 8:00pm at Crashbox (2022)

Atlas Maior creates original music that combines elements of Progressive Jazz, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Indian music traditions. For NMASS 2022, their live performance will be based on concepts and musical approaches they employed while making new album Hadal (slated for release, fall 2022) and 2014’s Palindrome, exploring different methods of improvisation and cosmologies of sound. Many of these exercises utilized themes of symmetries in sound through different instrumental arrangements. This performance features special guest Indrajit Banerjee (sitar) along with Joshua Thomson (alto saxophone, flutes), Josh Peters (oud), Gary Calhoun James (bass), and Aaron Parks (drums).

Indrajit Banerjee:

Sitarist Indrajit Banerjee is one of the leading exponents of the Maihar Gharana. He was born in a musical family, unique due to the large number of accomplished artists in Hindustani Classical Music. Some of these family members include his guru, Pandit Kartick Kumar (Sitar), Pandit Barun Kumar Pal (Hamsa Veena), Niladri Kumar (Sitar), Partho Das (Sitar), Aparna Roy (Surbahar). He got inspiration from his sitarist mother, Manju Banerjee, who was a disciple of late Nikhil Banerjee, and afterwards, Santosh Banerjee. Indrajit’s training began with his maternal grandfather, Bankim Kumar Pal, who was the disciple of Inayat Khan, and Birendra Kishore Roy Chowdhuri (Kochi Babu). He then took training under Pandit Manilal Nag of Bishnupur Gharana. Later on, he took intensive training from his uncle, Pandit Kartick Kumar, who is a senior disciple of Pandit Ravi Shankar. All of this training developed a strong foundation for Indrajit’s music, and creative individuality. Indrajit has a special touch on Sitar combined with technical virtuosity and sensitivity.

Indrajit takes a special interest in teaching, he has some outstanding students and a following across the world in this regard. Presently he teaches in Rhythm and Raag (an Institute for Indian Performing Arts) in Chicago ( for the spring and fall semesters and summer in Samhati (France) and in Kolkata India. His highly acclaimed instructional DVD’s are distributed worldwide.

Roberto Paolo Riggio:

Atash’s musical director Roberto Paolo Riggio crosses many boundaries as a violinist and composer, immersing himself in musical languages of the world while developing his own unique voice.  Mentors and influences include Simon Shaheen, Pandit Ram Narayan, Dr. L. Subramaniam, Francois Rabbath, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan, and Marcel Khalife.  He has toured with international stars such as Youssou N’Dour, Fathy Salama, Fairuz, Kazem Al-Saher and the Gypsy All-Stars (family of Gipsy Kings) and has collaborated with cutting edge composers such as Aashish Khan, Eyvind Kang, Kai Eckhardt, Fareed Haque, Bassam Saba and Fared Shafinury.  He is a founding member of the National Arab Orchestra under Michael Ibrahim, has guest-directed “Bereket” (the University of Texas Middle Eastern Ensemble), is first violinist and string arranger for Oliver Rajamani’s Mondsee Orchestra and has founded various groups, including the East Austin Youth Orchestra and the Austin Global Orchestra.  Roberto also works as a producer, and composes symphonic and chamber works that cut across genres and styles.–

Atlas Maior:

Atlas Maior creates original music that combines elements of Progressive Jazz, Middle Eastern, Latin American, and Indian music traditions.  Band members Joshua Thomson (alto saxophone, flutes) & Josh Peters (oud, lavta) create a unique sound that balances intimate moments of sincerity with powerful melodies and incendiary rhythmic passages, bolstered by a top-notch rhythm section, Atlas Maior writes original melodies exploring maqamat (Middle Eastern modal system) and harmonic progressions found in American jazz. The group composes with a wide variety of rhythms and incorporates traditional instruments including the Indian tablas, Middle Eastern dumbek, & Peruvian cajón.  

As an ensemble, Atlas Maior has released 5 studio albums, most recently RIPTIDE, voted a 2019 Top 100 Austin release by The Austin Chronicle. The group has garnered positive reviews and media placement from Public Radio International (PRI The World), New York Daily Music, Jazz Journal U.K., Medium,  Afropop Worldwide, KUTX Austin’s NPR Affiliate, All About Jazz, Tokyo Jazz Site, Song Lines, UTNE Reader, Glide Magazine, Earmilk, Midwest Review, and more. Atlas Maior has toured internationally in France, Spain, and Turkey, and has received hometown recognition as 2019 Creative Ambassadors to the City of Austin. Other accolades include placement in the Marrakech Biennale 5 in 2014 (Marrakech, Morocco), and recipient of the City of Austin’s Proclamation: March 27th, 2014 as “Atlas Maior Day” by Austin’ City Council.  

The group has opened for internationally acclaimed artists Kaki King, Vieux Farka Touré, Tal National, and have performed at music festivals including SXSW, Austin Days (Angers, FR), Pueblos Blancos (Andalusia), Wobeonfest, Art Outside, and the City of Austin’s F1 Fan Fest. Atlas Maior has collaborated with a host of talented musicians in Angers, Austin, Barcelona, Istanbul, and from around the world, including Lou Lou Ghelichkhani of Thievery Corporation, Raquy Danziger, Ali Pervez Mehdi, Fared Shafinury, Indrajit Banerjee, Alán Chehab Quartet, The University of Texas at Austin Middle East Ensemble Bereket, The Austin Global Orchestra and many more.