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As we all know there are no live gigs taking place in the immediate future. However, any links to jazz streaming that are deemed suitable - i.e. with a professional approach - will be considered for posting.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Gateshead International Jazz Festival Roberto Fonseca + Ayanna Witter-Johnson. Friday March 23.

Roberto Fonseca
I was sitting too far back to catch the band members names or the names of tunes, but did that matter? Nearly every seat on level 1 was taken and the band soon had the audience lapping it up, with someone dancing in the aisle nearby.
There was a marvellously diverse range of instruments. Besides Fonseca’s piano and keyboard, there was bass guitar, electric guitar, drum kit, tenor sax, flute, congas, African hand drums, a small African stringed instrument with a sound rather like a banjo, and, to top it all, a kora. For those not familiar with the kora, listen to one soon. It’s a half sphere, which was probably originally a hollowed-out vegetable, with a long stem bearing many stops for adjusting the strings, which gives a wonderfully melodious sound. And there were electronic effects as well, which at one point included a choir of angelic female voices.
And to suit the array of instruments there was an array of styles, including jazzy tunes, flowing classical piano, African sounds, Cuban sounds, and even one tune with sinuous Arabic elements. There was the trading of fours between kora and keyboard, a flowing lyrical piece from the piano, accompanied by gently brushed drums and cymbals, a tremendous drum solo. The audience gave a standing ovation at the end of the performance, so the band encored with a quieter African piece which faded out gently.
Ayanna Witter-Johnson
The concert opened with a most unusual and delightful performance by Ayanna, singing and playing the cello, which she played much of the time as if it was a double bass, but whilst sitting down. Most of the songs were her own, well written, thoughtful songs, sung in a lovely sweet voice. For instance, Grandma’s Hands; about the comfort she experienced from that relationship; a song in tribute to her mother; and a heartfelt version of the classic song Roxanne. The style of singing was jazzy with gospel elements and she occasionally did percussive beats on the body of the cello, to great effect.
This concert was a good start to the festival, I reckon.
Ann Alex.

2 comments :

Anonymous said...

The tour line-up features Fonseca on piano and keyboards, Baba Sissoko on African percussion, Joel Hierrezuelo on Cuban percussion, Ramsés Rodríguez on drums, Yandy Martínez on bass, Jorge Chicoy on guitar, Javier Zalba on sax, flute and clarinet and Sekou Kouyate on kora.

Ron A said...

Fantastic concert, but could not see any reason for the use of electronic devices and backing tracks,although this was minimal.
Great start to the festival.

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