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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:23 am
by Garth Cartwright
Wynton's back at the Barbican. I went last night to see the first performance which finds he and his orchestra (4 sax, 3 trombone, 4 trumpet, 1 flute, piano, dbl bass, drums) joined by the Sachal Jazz Ensemble (guitar, sitar, flute, 2 tabla) - the Pakistani group who had a surprise breakout hit last year when they recorded an album of jazz and easy listening standards that got much attention - especially their take on Take 5. Wynton's always been up for challenges - the last time I saw him here he was sharing the stage with a Ghanian drum master as they tried to summon up the spirits of Congo Square - and this fusion of East and West finds him nodding to the epic adventures John and Alice Coltrane and others embarked upon in the 1960s. He acknowledged this when the musicians played My Favourite Things with Wynton citing John Coltrane's arrangement of this standard and his later adventures in Eastern melody as the reason for such a choice.

Of course, Wynton being Wynton he does not go for radical explorations of sound, preferring more an exquisite meeting of musical minds. What this conjured up then was glorious big band jazz arrangements of Western and Eastern compositions with the Sachal ensemble often seeming not much more than decoration - but very pleasant decoration. My favourite pieces of the evening were a rousing take on Jelly Roll Morton's New Orleans Blues - great, growling solos from Marsalis - and Rhythmesque, an original composition written by the Sandal's conductor Nijat Ali that had a tense, dynamic pulse that was more dynamic than most of the numbers played. Take 5 probably got the greatest reception, timeless masterpiece that it is, and Marsalis noted how Dave Brubeck would surely approve of this cultural coming together via his music. Marsalis also commented on how different the Pakistani's idea of rhythm was to the Americans and how this created some interesting challenges in rehearsals. But when playing together everything came together superbly.

Wynton and orchestra return to the Barbican tomorrow to play Blue Note classics. I won't be there but those who are fortunate to attend will surely be in for a stunning evening.


PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 12:21 pm
by Adam Blake
How lovely. I am very fond of Wynton. Perhaps worth pointing out, though, that "Take Five" is not Dave Brubeck's music, but that of Paul Desmond. It's the jazz version of crediting Lennon & McCartney with "Something" (as many people have done and still do!)

In his own unassuming way, though, Brubeck was a great pioneer of musical multi-culturalism and I am sure he would be delighted at such a gathering.