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Ajinkya Bakshi’s Third Album “Corporate Jazz”: A Jazz-Hop Fusion Journey

Ajinkya Bakshi, an Indore native music producer aspires to synthesize hip-hop sounds and redesign jazz sounds by disturbing the natural rhythm and extracting grooves that encapsulate the listener. With no prior musical background, he prides himself on being a self-made producer who experiments with eccentric sound fields and catchy hooks that keeps his listeners engaged. His determination to blend a variety of sonics and his craze for hardcore old-school rap has allowed him to successfully release three albums. All three of his albums consist only of jazz/hip-hop sounds which I found pretty unconventional. When asked, he smiled and replied, “For me, my albums are whole-they are complete and instead the vocals serve as an addition to any song. I am not trying to undermine the hard work that singers and rappers put in for a verse but without a strong sonic soundwave, a song is never complete. Thus, for me, all the songs in my album are whole- both in terms of sound and emotions transmitted by the sound.”

“Corporate Jazz” Artwork by Krishnanshu a.k.a the.white.panda

His third album “Corporate Jazz” is a groovy and innovative fusion of jazz and hip-hop music. It is a perfect blend of laid-back jazz melodies and upbeat hip-hop rhythms, with catchy hooks that will keep the listeners engaged. “Corporate Jazz” will appeal to a wide range of music lovers, especially those who appreciate the art of fusion music. The album is a handsome amalgamation of old/modern jazz sounds and hip-hop sounds and uses instrumentals derived from trumpets, tambourines, pianos, and many more. “I was slaving in the corporate world and dragging myself to work and that is what inspired me to make this album.”

Sonically, the entire project has an unorthodox rhythm to it that would make you bop. I can see a clear depiction of Monte Booker-inspired rhythms in the entire project- the matrimony of high hats which are slightly off-grid and the use of percussion has churned the project into a wholesome listening experience. The sound selection of Ajinkya is top-notch and has used a realistic approach to his instruments like the drums and created rhythms with them that are not easy to create on a DAW. The most intriguing and idiosyncratic is the use of 808s as it is not a usual choice in jazz compositions. Nonetheless, the 808s are a punch-packed addition to the project that has elevated the album.

Let us break down five of the most popular tracks from the project in terms of the inspiration behind it.
The first track of the album is “[G o o d] Content”. “I am currently working in the content development department of my company and this song inspired it.” In the corporate world the term “good content” is subjective and through this sound, he opens up the platform to his listeners to determine if the sound can be called good or not. The second track is “Brass Ain’t Jazz”. Jazz music usually does not have brass but ironically this song does. With this track, he intends to change the perspective that music producers who create sonics are not necessarily waiting for an artist to jump on their track, but instead, create a story consisting of sounds and instrumentals that speak for themselves.

The third track is “First Cr x sh”. Ajinkya slyly blushes and confesses the song was inspired by his first crush in the corporate world. The track itself is very emotionally driven and relates to the ‘cuter, happier’ side of working in corporate. The fourth track “My head hit the roof” was created by Ajinkya when he was at the peak of frustration and creativity block but when he completed it and listened to it, the sound hit him with a fresh boost. The song came out melodic- something his listeners would put on a relaxing evening on their roof gazing at the stars, a simple and melodic synthesis. The fifth track “Peace is the mission”, the name is inspired by Major Lazer’s 2021 album carrying the same name. The song radiates a sense of peace and it is the last song in the album which also signifies a peaceful ending to a rollercoaster of a journey- both sonically and emotionally. The song brings a perception of being at peace and finding closure to the whole corporate world voyage.

Ajinkya continues to challenge the traditional definition of an “album” and thus, gains his inspiration from KennyBeatz, Monte Booker, and Sez On The Beat. He has also expressed excitement about an opportunity to work with other notable producers and artists in the IHH like Yksdog, Vedang, LilKabeer, and Teesri Duniya among many others in the future. Ajinkya continues to aspire to work with jazz/hip-hop sounds and re-engineer their perspective to suit the liking of his discography. I am confident enough to say that this project has changed my outlook on viewing an “album” as not only a symposium of sounds and vocals but it can also constitute winsome sounds and instrumentals.

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