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Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan
GharanaSitar - Jafferkhani
Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan
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Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan is the youngest of the 'Sitar Trinity' of India along with Ravi Shankar and Vilayat Khan. He was born in 1929, in Jawra, Madhya Pradesh, as the son of Jaffer Khan, a versatile vocalist, sitarist and beenkar. He hails from the Beenkar Gharana of Indore. He has been a distinguished All India Radio Artiste since the early 1940s. A few years before the Beatles met Ravi Shankar, in 1958, Khan collaborated with jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. Brubeck who was in Bombay through the state sponsored "jazz diplomacy" - the Jazz Ambassadors Program was impressed by the improvisation in Indian music and said that the experience accompanying Halim Jaffer Khan led him to play in a different way. He says of that meeting, "We understood each other." Khan also performed with the noted English classical guitarist Julian Bream in 1963.

Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan is perhaps best known for his innovation, Jafferkhani Baaj. He describes it as, "a synthesis of precision in technique, systematic thought" with a vigorous playing style.

Of ragas such as Kirwani, Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan has been credited with bringing Carnatic ragas into the sitar repertoire: Kanakangi, Latangi, Kirwani, Karaharapriya, Manavati, Ganamurti, etc. but rendering them through a Hindustani sensibility and in the Jafferkhani style. he was the first Hindustani musician to collaborate with Carnatic music in a performance with renowned Veena player Emani Sankara Sastry. His early experimentation with polytonality in Indian classical instrumentation (which is largely solo performance) was achieved in his sitar quintet.

Khan has had a valuable involvement with Indian cinema. He has composed and played for epic films like Mughal-e-Azam, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Goonj Uthi Shehnai, Kohinoor and has collaborated with noted music directors such as Vasant Desai, C. Ramachandra, Madan Mohan and Naushad who has said, "he not only enriched film music, but his participation lent prestige to my songs."

In 1976, Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan created the Halim Academy of Sitar in Mumbai, India. His legacy is being carried on by his son Zunain Khan, an accomplished sitarist himself.
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