Friday, May 2, 2008

Dr Abdullah Ibrahim: EKAYA

So did any one see the picture of Paul Grabowsky doing this same face in the Sunday Mag a couple of weeks ago? Hmm. Whose idea was that I wonder... but I digress. It makes a bloke look worried. What is Dr Abdullah Ibrahim worried about?

Imagine this: the Regent Theatre lobby, at the end of a concert... A small sample of the types of conversations that were taking place...

Punter 1: What was the sound guy thinking. The piano was so amplified that he just had to touch a key "plink" and it reverberates through the whole room. And the bass was distorting. And the saxophones sounded like they weren't being amplified at all.
Punter 2: That was the most boring concert I have ever been to
Punter 3 to Punter 4: What did you think?
Punter 4: Hmmm. I had no idea it was going to go for two hours.
Punter 5: Can someone tell me how to get to Bennetts Lane?

Meanwhile, Punters 6 & 7 are discussiong the shells. Stafford Hunter (trombone, sea shells) was playing them on stage. Punter 7 tells Punter 6 about Steve Turre. Punter 6 is going to order a copy of a Steve Turre CD as soon as the shops open tomorrow. Apparently Trombones and Sea Shells go together. It's the trombonists who try the conch.

If I'm honest (it happens sometimes) I will admit that the conversation snippets above say more about the snippees than the subject of the conversation. At any festival it's important to remember that most fundamental of fundamental tenets : It is what it is.

It was a concert. It was Dr Abdullah Ibrahim. They didn't seem to hang together, did they. And the music flowed with--one punter said--a strong world and folk threads. This little punter/blogger works in an office on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and she was extremely tired tonight. Another punter was treated to yours truly's head on his shoulder for a portion of the concert. And yours truly is not the one who thought the concert was boring. It was soporific in spots and that's a different thing. It was what it was.

Standouts for me were Howard Johnson's Baritone Sax, which woke me from a little doze on my neighbour's shoulder. I can highly recommend being woken up by those Howard Johnson sounds. It was pretty sweet, actually. Plus he plays a mean pennywhistle! And there was also the above mentioned Stafford Hunter, he of the conches. That sound was really something. I had never heard shells being played before.

The whole of EKAYA: Dr Abdullah Ibrahim - piano, Belden Bullock - bass, George Gray - drums, Cleave Guyton - saxophone, Stafford Hunter - trombone, sea shells, Howard Johnson - baritone, penny whistle and James Stewart - baritone, bass, clarinet, flute.

There were sweet dreamy moments aplenty. Not just metaphorically: had actual dreams while listening to this concert, a lovely half-state of consciousness, with the sounds providing a context. I wish the band had sounded more rehearsed. I wish the sounds had been more evenly amplified. But it was what it was. And it wasn't all bad.

But the Regent was effing freezing! Come ON people!! Turn the heating up, willya!


1 comment:

Faculty of Business and Enterprise said...

OK, thanks for the opinion, I specifically went up to the sound guy after the performance and he said that "they wanted it all to be acoustic " not what he would have suggested. It is the Regent after all , not that intimate. There was plenty of nice bits but I was very dissappointed that "the punters" could'nt last the distance and that the drums where not amplified. Very obvious that the brass section suffered also with the sound. So has the appreciation of jazz become predictable ? Mmmm. I go to many live gigs of many styles no where near that comfortable. Meanwhile, enjoy the music. My rating, 5/10 ;-) joe