Thursday, November 13, 2008

it's jazz baby

Me – I’m going to the Tripod please.

Taxi Bloke – On Harcourt St?

Me – Yeah.

Taxi Bloke – What’s on there?

Me – Herbie Hancock.

Taxi Bloke – Who’s he?

Me – You might know him from that tune he did called ‘Rockit’ back in 1983.

Taxi Bloke – No

Me – He’s done lots of other stuff. Played with the likes of Miles Davis, Donald Byrd, Wayne Shroter, Chick Corea, Jaco Pastorius, did the theme tune to the Cosby Kids cartoon show, stuff like that

Taxi Bloke – Ah jaysus, all those musicians are up their own hole.

Me – Well he’s famous, but I doubt that he’s that bad.

Taxi Bloke – I’ve a friend who’s a musician and he’s up his own arse. He’s not in touch with reality. Are you going to Girls Aloud? You could go to that gig with earplugs in and you’d still enjoy it.

And so began the night. The Herbie Hancock Sextet was playing in Tripod last night and the Don Rosco weaved some magic and sorted me out with entry to the gig. We hooked up with The Mullet beforehand and managed to bypass the lengthy queue that had formed. Straight in. No chaser. Apparently it was supposed to kick-off at 8 sharp but it was 8.15 before Herbie and his ensemble arrived on stage. Last night he was joined by Lionel Loueke on guitar, Terence Blanchard on trumpet, James Genus on bass guitar, Gregoire Maret on harmonica and Kendrick Scott on drums.

Rather than being up his own arse Herbie was an entirely affable character (I can’t wait to tell that taxi driver). He complained a little about the cold, introduced the band, completed some general audience interaction, compared his well worn shoes with Blanchards silver sneakers and kicked off with the tune ‘Actual Proof’ which I think is from the second Headhunters album, Thrust. It lasted about twenty minutes or twice as long as the recorded version. When it was over there was some more audience interaction and it turns out that he’s not only affable but he’s a fairly funny, self-deprecating individual too. I’m really warming to Herbie now. He cracks into the tune ‘Speak like a child’ and after about fifteen minutes it segues into a version of ‘The Visitor’. Another fifteen minutes later and that tune ends. At this stage I’m beginning to wonder exactly how many tunes he’s going to fit into the gig.

Herbie then gave a special introduction to Lionel Loueke. I was reading about Lionel’s background today and his tale really is something special. From his poor beginnings in Benin, West Africa he’s now playing guitar all over the world with some jazz legends. Last night we were treated to a composition of his called ‘Seven Teens’ that featured on his recent release Karibu. It’s apparently written with seventeen beats to the bar, which I imagine is damn hard to play. This was followed by a solo improvisation with just his voice and guitar. The rest of the band left him to it and took a quick piss break. There was some crowd interaction when he got everyone clapping and chanting and he did a bit of mad shit with his voice that sounded like Huey, Louis & Dewey doing some human beatboxing. It was great value. The rest of the gig just melted together. They did a version of ‘Cantaloup Island’; a tune that many will know inspired the US3 cover version, Cantaloop. I don’t remember all that much after that. It was all done and dusted by 10.30 and we were sent home with the jazz fusion still ringing in our ears.

Never a man to miss a trick, The Mullet led us down to Anseo on Camden Street where we caught some of the set from UK dubstepper Plastician. The place was heaving downstairs so we popped our heads upstairs for a couple of quick swifties. A much more convivial atmosphere up there and the smell of body odour wasn’t as bad. Some times you have to know when to call a night a night and that time was upon me. The Carling Cup highlights beckoned me home and there I headed. Maximum respect to the Don Rosco for driving me home just in time to see the Arsenal kids stick a few in the onion bag against Wigan. All was right with the world.


Karl said...

All those taxi drivers are up their own arses.

Anonymous said...

Its seven teens?? I thought it was called 17. Dumb ass. Herbie was rocking, I heard someone say recently that they saw him before and he was pants. If your not into fusion you may well think he was pants.