- The opening act, the Alexis Baro Sextet, was the best of the three opening acts I’ve seen thus far. Baro is originally from Cuba but he has been living in Toronto since 2001. Lots of Latin-inflected energy supplied by both a congo drummer and a regular drummer. All band members were very good — well worth the price of admission if I didn’t already have a pass!
- We got caught in a heavy rain that lasted 6-8 minutes before tapering off and then stopping. Not only that, but there was some pretty impressive lightning not far to the north of us. You’re thinking, “It’s not good to be in an open area during a thunderstorm.” And, “It’s particularly ungood if you’re one of those people who are seated under the tree.” But approximately 9,000 people gathered in a park don’t have anywhere to go very readily.
Anyway, the sextet turned up the energy another notch, got us up onto our feet (tough to do with these reserved Ottawa crowds), and we danced or at least swayed our way to our deaths. Or, until the rain ended, which happily is how things actually turned out.
- And now Herbie Hancock is taking the stage. He’s touring a disc of Joni Mitchell songs, which might suggest we’re in for an evening of jazzified pop. But he’s got Dave Holland on bass, which makes me hope we’ll hear some pure jazz, too. And then he’s got Lionel Loueke on guitar. Loueke hails from West Africa; I heard him play with Terence Blanchard a couple of years ago. He brings a distinctive African sensibility to the guitar, which portends a little world music to spice up the show.
Anyway, here we go! Lots of power right from the opening note: and yes, this is authentic jazz.
All of the above. Jazz, pop, blues, funk, world music, even some classical inflections — Hancock and Co. served up a generous helping of each. The evening ended with an extended, improvisational version of Chameleon.
We got a small taste of what it was like in the 60s, when Hancock, Williams, and Carter were improvising with George Coleman and Miles Davis. The band was clearly having a blast, too.