Monday, July 28, 2008

Electronic Sunshine - Manchester Jazz Festival day 4

I was looking forward to seeing the Arun Ghosh Indo-Jazz Sextet down at Matt and Phreds on the Monday 21st July as soon as I saw the mjf festival program. I caught Arun's fab CD launch gig at the Contact Theatre a few months ago. That one was an amazing gig but this one managed to surpass it.

Arun started the evening with a surging solo improvisation that immediately grabbed the audience's attention and more or less hushed a packed Matt and Phreds, no mean feat and not something I've witnessed before. The band then launched into a punchy and forceful version of 'Aurora', the first track on the new CD and the perfect set opener. Arun really is a captivating and hypnotic performer with real star quality in addition to being a great song composer and lovely improviser on the clarinet. The brooding and intensely epic 'Uterine' was once again a highlight for me with the electronic tanpura accompanied timeless tune leading into a great modal vamp and some ecstatic improvising from Arun and tenor sax player Idris Rahman.

The second set opened with a guest appearance from the omnipresent John Ellis on piano joining in on a simple and expansive South Indian tune that John had introduced to Arun some time ago. Another highlight from the CD was the joyous and life enhancing 'Bondhu' delivered with such swaggering confidence and vigour that by this point the band were so much in the zone they could do no wrong. There were some great moments all through from Kishon Khan on the piano and the rhythm section players Sylvan Richardson on bass, Rastko Rasic on darbuka and Myke Wilson all aquitted themselves admirably.

It was an honour to be a witness at one of the highpoints of this years festival for sure.

2 comments:

Samscam said...

The rest of my photos from the gig are here by the way: http://icanhaz.com/arunghoshpics

Ade said...

Ta Mr Samscam - nice pics. Ade x