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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, October 05, 2019

Newcastle Festival of Jazz and Improvised Music: Yazz Ahmed’s Electric Dreams @ Gosforth Civic Theatre - October 4

Yazz Ahmed (trumpet/flugelhorn); Jason Singh (voice/electronics); Samuel Hällkvist (guitar); Rod Youngs (drums)
(Review by Steve H)

Gosforth Civic Theatre was virtually full for the visit of the British Bahraini artist’s band Electric Dreams. As Ahmed explained, the band produces spontaneous improvisations so it was going to be interesting to see what sort of journey we would be taken on.

It got off to a very rocky start - more Pink Floyd than Blue Mitchell - as guitar and drums tended to dominate on the opening two numbers. The third piece seemed to change tack completely and almost had a western (in the John Wayne sense) type feel to it. 

At this point I was not convinced. Luckily the final piece of the first set really did the business. Starting off with some Indian style scat from Singh (I am sure there is a proper name for this but sadly I don’t know what it is) the piece grew and grew and morphed into almost Phillip Glass/Steve Reich minimalist  flavoured work. So, at the halfway point, I was now looking forward with eager anticipation to the second set.

I was not disappointed. The music, somehow, seemed far more coherent than in the first set. Hällkvist on guitar and Youngs on drums interacted brilliantly. Ahmed, who seemed rather subdued in the first set, was far more prominent in the second. An atmospheric electronic jazz soundscape was created and I was really able to lose myself in the music. 

So, a very positive end to the evening after a somewhat laboured start. But I guess that is the joy of improvised music neither the band nor the audience know how things are going to turn out but the longer everyone stays with it the better it seems to get.  
Steve H

2 comments :

Steve T said...

The singing/ scatting/ rapping style is called conical, though I never seem to be able to find the correct spelling. Anyone?

Chris Kilsby said...

I'm tempted to say Steve T's proposed spelling is a bit "comical", but that would be cheeky :)

It's most often written "konnakol" but as it's a Tamil word by origin there is no "official" version, and you'll see it as konokol and other variants as well.

However it's written, the konnakol was one of the highlights. I also enjoyed Singh's trademark bird calls towards the end, followed by some "bear growling" (?). Never heard those at a jazz gig before!

I'd liked to have heard a bit more from Yazz overall, but as Steve H says, this was an exciting session, with a welcome whiff of the unpredictable and risky. There was some great playing and it mostly worked for me.

Chris K

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