He has been described by guitar legend John McLaughlin as "one of the leading edges in drumming", and is now part of John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, touring Europe in July 2011. He has been always inspired by the path-breaking work of tabla maestro Zakir Hussain and John McLaughlin and was recently featured as the drummer in John's Grammy nominated album ‘Floating Point’. He will be recording his first album as part of John McLaughlin & the 4th Dimension in winter, 2011
Ranjit has recently released his highly acclaimed worldwide debut album, 'Bada Boom', in November 2010, featuring some of the greatest musicians on the scene today, from India and the West. This album is a collection of Ranjit’s Jazz Fusion and World compositions with performances by Ustad Zakir Hussain, John McLaughlin, U. Srinivas, U. Rajesh, Scott Kinsey, Matt Garrison, Wayne Krantz, Dominique DiPiazza, Harmeet Manseta, Taufique Qureshi, Sanjay Divecha, Tim Garland, Gwilym Symcock, Ayden Esen and Elie Afif, to name a few.
Born into a family steeped in Indian classical music, melody and rhythm has always been an integral part of Ranjit’s life. His mother is the renowned Kathak dancer, Sitara Devi. His response to the western drum kit, even at the age of 12, was almost organic and his natural flair, ease and craft catapulted him onto becoming one of India's leading artists on the instrument at the age of 17, starting out as drummer with the great Louis Banks and traveling to the West with leading Indian jazz and classical musicians.
His first big performance was at Jazz Yatra ’80, with the Jazz Yatra Sextet. He also performed at the Yatra with the great Pandit Ravi Shankar’s ensemble, Jazzmine, featuring John Handy, George Adams and Mike Richmond of the Mingus Dynasty.
On his first European tour, Ranjit met Don Cherry. There was an instant connection, and he invited Ranjit to jam at a jazz club in Warsaw. This connection eventually led to a performance at the 1982 Jazz Yatra in Bombay. Between 1980-82, Ranjit performed at European festivals which also featured jazz greats such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Al Foster, Billy Higgins, Cecil Taylor and Louie Bellson, among others.
Ranjit's approach to drumming and the use of vocabulary has been influenced by great rhythm masters such as tabla legends Ustad Allarakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain, Billy Cobham, Tony Williams, Elvin Jones, Steve Gadd, Omar Hakim, Al Foster, Peter Erskin and the Carnatic giants such as Palghat Raghu ji and Karaikudi Mani ji (mridangam), Palnivel ji (tavill), Hari Shankar ji (Khanjira), and his friend and
teacher, Sridhar Parthsarthy (mridangam, hand percussion).
Ranjit has also had a long career in composition and music production, working out of his own state-of-the-art studio facility in Mumbai. It is in this connection that he had the honor of working with the sound and music production industry legend, Bruce Swedien, who mixed Ranjit’s songs on Vande Mataram 2 and Senso Unico, an Indo-Italian feature film. Bruce has had a great influence on Ranjit’s musical life and approach to a lot of his contemporary work.
Combined with his strong roots in the Indian classical tradition, his world view of music gave him a unique perspective on the Indian Film genre. His journey in this prolific industry started in the 80’s and he has been a featured drummer and arranger for Industry giants such as R.D. Burman, Laxmikant – Pyarelal, Kalyanji – Anandji, continuing through the eras of Anu Malik and Ismail Darbar, and to the present, as one of the most sought after arranger/ producers.
His work in this field has also earned him much acclaim and recognition as a Music Composer and Arranger for Album Projects and Feature Films and Ranjit continues to bring his unique personality to this genre of music and has been an integral part of some of A.R. Rahman’s greatest work through the years, including the recently Grammy and Oscar nominated Score for Danny Boyle's '127 Hours'
He has spent many years studying in the Carnatic style of percussion and has a natural grasp of konnakol (the tradition of Carnatic Percussion spoken syllables), as an expression of his compositions. He has had the distinct honor of performing often with Maestro Zakir Hussain, including a Masters of Percussion Tour of the US and Canada. Ranjit’s versatility as a drummer/ musician has led to unique collaborations with varied artists such as Carnatic mandolin legend, U. Srinivas, Carnatic violin maestro L. Subramaniam, Hindustani slide guitar master exponent, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, sarangi legend Sultan Khan saab, ghattam maestro Pandit ‘Vikku’ Vinayakaram, Khanjira exponent Selva Ganesh, among many other noted artists.
Ranjit's collaborations abroad have seen unique performances with renowned artists such as Jonas Helborg, Aydin Esen, Tim Garland, and Scott Kinsey, Wayne Krantz, Matt Garrison and Arto Tuncboyaciyan at the New Universe Music Festival, USA in Nov 2010. His talent as a drummer, producer, arranger has also led to producing a song for master percussionist, Trilok Gurtu.
Ranjit was the Composer and Sound Designer for the entire Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 and opened the "India Inclusive' showcase at WEF, Davos 2011 with his live performance. He recently completed songs and the background score for the much-acclaimed feature film 'Shaitaan' and is currently producing the MTV Unplugged (India) series.
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