Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce created something that no one had heard before.
A hybrid of Classical, Jazz and Blues music. Cutting edge kinda stuff that to this day – remains magical and untouched.
Fifty years later, the prodigal sons (and nephew) are hitting the road to pay homage to a legacy that will forever be etched into the fabric of popular music. Malcolm Bruce, Kofi Baker and Will Johns unite to recreate magic that only they can …
Please listen below to Part One of my chat with Malcolm Bruce, the son of the late Jack Bruce.
It goes without saying, this is one of the finest festivals I’ve ever played! Thank you Montreal for building an institution.”
Ben Harper on Instagram.
At least one Harper showed. Stephen Harper – our resident Prime Minister did not appear at The Jazz festival nor was his pride evident in Canada’s and the world’s biggest festival. Well – at least God appeared happy.
The tunes rising into heaven from the Earth below, enough to allow the Lord to hold back on the rain. The heavens did not open up (save for a pair of twenty minute segments) and dampen the spirits of the music fans. It was ten days of sun, sun and soleil.
Aretha – Sounding Off
Roger Walls – a horn player who has worked with everyone from Garou to Tony Bennett, witnessed a comical event. Especially given the nature of Aretha Franklin’s much – maligned performance.
” I was at sound-check …” Explained Roger. ” Right in the middle of a song, Aretha berated the sound man. Insisting she could do his job better than him. Threatening to come down and do it herself. Expletives included … ”
” After witnessing this first hand – a fellow horn player turns to me and says; I’d hate to be married to her!”
Considering the negative reviews of the show – sound or no sound, nothing would have saved Aretha. Maybe it is time to pack it in following a long and respectful career …
Same could be said for B.B King?
Citing not taking his medicine, King’s performance less-than-flattering.
This is not the first time for King. He had to cancel a couple of performances recently mid -way through concerts for the same reason. In St.Louis, last March – he was booed mercilessly for not hardly playing and not playing well when he did. King deserves respect as the Grandfather of the Blues – yet, so does the paying public.
Fans must at this point, realize a B.B King concert is to see a legend live. Want some great King music? Buy a cd.
As per English (British – not West Island) music journalist Sebastien Scotney; the show of the festival was Keith Jarrett. Sebastien is the editor of London Jazz and this was his first visit to Montreal. Read his review here in The Telegraph. Great guy!
Burning Spear / Sly and Robbie Review
They say ninety percent of drum tracks laid down in Jamaica were done by Sly Dunbar.
For years, under the tutelage of men like Marley, Tosh and Cliff – Dunbar along with fellow sideman Robbie Shakespeare; were and remain – the battery of Jamaica.
Ya man …
Dunbar is a machine. Head down without hardly a break or peek at his surroundings; Sly kept the groove going, da riddims. Precision-like maneuvers. Robbie – the Bill Wyman of Reggae (longevity, quality, rhythm ), served the bass lines with power normally reserved for a rhythm guitarist.
Reggae is like that …
Delivering signature songs such as ‘Swing Easy’, ‘Real Rock’, ‘Darker Shade of Black’ and ‘ Taxi Rhythm’ – the legendary pair along with their backing band – The Taxi Gang; explained reggae to those almost sure what Reggae is. After all – Pizza is not Italian and many eat and bake it as such … As in many genres, the real stuff gets watered down over the years. Sly and Robbie are the real deal.
Burning Spear, the sixty-nine year old living, breathing – living legend; entered stage right. He was as pleased to be in Montreal as Montrealers and out of towners were to witness him.
Playing a catalog of six decades long is no easy task. What to pick and what to play? For a non -Reggae fan, it would appear easy as Reggae music (non roots) sounds similar ( except for a few Marley tunes). Well – bite your collective Rasta tongues.
Spear’s 1976 hit; ‘Pick Up the Pieces’ – sent Metropolis into a frenzy. Proof that at least half the attendees were indeed Reggae fans while the other half soon became ones. The rhythmic ‘riddems’ of the song in dark contrast to Marley’s slow burning hits. Spear, on the Congas – off the Congas; a master with the microphone and very able to sing like a Rasta – Mick Jagger. One year Mick’s junior …
What’s with these old guys anyways? Shuffleboard anyone?
Ginger Baker Jazz Confusion
What’s with these old guys anyways? Shuffleboard anyone?
Ginger Baker – ex of Cream, appeared at the Jazz Festival; ex of Cream. His foursome included James Brown’s ex-bandleader Pee Wee Ellis on Saxophone, Alec Dankworth on Bass and Abbas Doodoo on Congas and various other percussion -related instruments.
As an outsider looking in to a seventy-four year old drummer with a Jazz related background – it was easy to categorize Doodoo as a mask for Baker’s miscues. Far from the truth and simply not the case.
Ginger may not be as ‘ginger’ as he once was ( wheezing between songs), yet his drumming remains impeccable. His sense of humor as jazzy as the Jazz itself portrayed and carried out on stage with the utmost perfection.
Baker laid out a dozen ( Bakers’ Dozen – get it?) supreme jokes at his own expense. The running gag – people in his entourage laying bets in which city he will ‘expire’ in on this tour. To which Baker countered; ‘I think Pee Wee will beat me to it! ( Ellis no slim or young chicken at that).
The music? Songs such as ‘Well You Needn’t’, Wayne Shorter’s cover – ‘Footprints’ and the original ‘Ginger Spice’ – as effervescent as Sunshine in your Life. ’12+ More Blues’ was mesmerizing as was the always present ‘Aiko Biaye’. Baker and Doodoo providing crashing rhythms and almost morphing into a sole unit on several occasions.
The show was Jazz, Ellis providing haunting (at times) solos and Dankworth instilling the truth and keeping it tight within the scope of the songs. Dankworth was not there to stand out. Nor was Ellis. Their jobs – simply to keep things fresh. Keep things tight. Keep things interesting for a non-drumming fan.
The concert was all about Baker’s drumming. A contest almost.
Competing with and complementing Doodoo. It was a drummer’s take on Jazz much the way Rich, Krupa and Baker’s contemporary Charlie Watts see the songs in a Jazz kaleidoscope.