I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around,
and don't let anybody tell you different

-Kurt Vonnegut

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Monday, February 14, 2005

Jazz Britannia

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I bought a ticket for 'Jazz Britannia', but it sounded nice enough. Little did I know it would be much more than that. We were treated to some two and a half hours of great contemporary jazz mixed with funk, hip hop and traditional Indian, Cuban and other styles.

The show was led by none other than Courtney Pine, one of the leading figures of Britain's jazz scene and saxophone virtuoso. Guests included Carleen Anderson (former lead singer of the Brand New Heavies - what a voice - what a voice), Maxi Jazz (Faithless), Talvin Singh on the tablas (and some strange Indian chants), an astonishing jazz violinist named Omar Puente, an equally amazing pianist called Alex Wilson, and basically another 15 or so breathtaking UK (or UK-based) jazz musicians. The band was tight last night.

The great thing about Courtney Pine - besides the fact that his soli (and his circular breathing technique) will blow your mind, and the roof off the building - is that he is the living opposite of everything jazz has (unfortunately) become. For most people, jazz musicians and listeners are old, white, slightly arrogant intellectuals. Here's a guy who's trying to bring true jazz back to mainstream Britain without compromising it in the slightest. This is an attitude the music business everywhere needs more of. Plus, he made the crowd stand up and clap those hands on the two and fo'!


Courtney Pine.

BBC4: Jazz Britannia Live at the Barbican: Courtney Pine.

2 comments:

Tom said...

Actually tempted to buy the CD recording - think it was shown live on BBC4 later that night...

We should all go to Cuba seriously...shame they didn't do a jazz or funky version of the Internationale (while Castro's still alive)

PS - The Russians are coming...

Judge Jonathan said...

Yeah it was shown on BBC4, 'live' (with an hour delay).

As for your suggestion - you can turn "So What" into a uptempo funky song, but even Courtney Pine couldn't make the Internationale sound less rusty than it does... :)

I like your homepage by the way - definitely a flattering pic.