December 2007

Kahil El'Zabar & Hamiet Bluiett
December 1 & 2, 2007 Trane Studio Toronto
From ancient to today
by David Fujino with photos by Roger Humbert
From deep inside a whirlwind of splashing cymbals and a restless, chattering snare, Hamiet Bluiett stepped forward on baritone sax and boldly stated the classic melody of "Take The A Train".

Then in his highly instructive solo — with its exhilarating mix of upper register skids and fast vocalisms — Bluiett promptly showed us there's no real difference between free and in the tradition music — at least, not when he and Kahil El'Zabar are playing.

At one moment, El'Zabar's cyclical kalimba-and-voice moans, his jazz traps, hand drumming and ankle bells, occupied the foreground; the next moment, it was EL'Zabar who backed up Bluiett's forward leaping intervals and downright funk.

As the star duo — shone — they consistently played the inner music of "Take The A Train", but they had earthly fun, too. When the hunched over El'Zabar vocalized, "Bye-bye baby, bye-bye", Bluiett immediately joined in with some 'stage business' and turned his back to the audience, and waved 'Bye-Bye' with his left hand.

End of story.

El'Zabar's voice and kalimba grooves felt good all night, and together with Bluiett's rooted yet mobile baritone, this relaxed duo offered a sound experience that was both healing and somehow fortifying.

The only bad note was the woefully small audience this night. Whether it was the weather, or a severe case of market segmentation, or a case of simple inattention, no one will ever know.

But I myself received a beautiful lesson this night.

The lesson is that the blues is a wonderful, almost infinite tonal 'system', so it needn't be a question of leaving the blues behind in order to go beyond in music.

Of course, I say this after an evening of music from Kahil El'Zabar and Hamiet Bluiett, these trance masters, these messengers of Afro blue.

Kahil El'Zabar

Hamiet Bluiett
We welcome your comments and feedback
David Fujino
• • • • • •
Roger Humbert
• •
The Live Music Report

| Home | Archives | CD Reviews | Photo Galleries | Concert Listings | Contact |

Please contact us to secure permission for use of any material found on this website.
© The Live Music Report – 2007