Classical musician who opened for Bob Dylan

A recent post praised a new CD of Violin and Sitar Concertos from the Anglo-Indian father and son team of Jonathan and John Mayer. As well as composing for classical forces and playing violin in the London Philharmonic for five years in the 1950s, John Jiddhu Mayer wrote for and played what became known as Indo-Jazz Fusions with Jamaican-born alto-player Joe Harriott. Their Double Quintet included sitar, tabla, tambura and flute, with Mayer on violin or harpsichord. 

Joe Harriott and John Mayer's Indo-Jazz Fusions featured at the 1969 Isle of Wight Festival. This was headlined by Bob Dylan who ended a three year hiatus from live performances enforced by his motorbike accident. Saturday at the Isle of Wight Festival was prog rock day, with Indo-Jazz Fusions taking the stage in the afternoon after classical-influenced Third Ear Band. Saturday evening saw The Who playing, with The Moody Blues finishing the first day late at night, a transcendent performance captured on video by Murray Lerner

Sunday was folk day and topping a stellar line-up including Tom Paxton and Julie Felix, Bob Dylan closed the Festival with an hour-long set as John Lennon and George Harrison and other celebs watched. The 150,000 plus audience can be seen in the photo below. Classical music wants to reach out to a young demographic, and very few, if any, classical musicians have played to that many listeners. Want a bigger audience? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind...


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