Ramon Alexander and Lynette Petersen during a superb performance at the Arts Theatre. Photo: Christina Smit
GEORGE NEWS - Saturday’s concert being the first in a series of winter concerts put on by the George Music Society.
I was very pleased to hear that it would be a Jazz concert.
Jazz is an often misunderstood art form, its complex harmonies and rhythms requiring more of the listener than most forms of music, its improvisational nature requiring the musician’s mastery of his or her instrument. Either you love it or hate it.
While putting on a great jazz album and sitting back to listen is a good way to spend an evening, jazz music is best appreciated in a live context.
In keeping with the George 200th birthday celebrations, the winter series of concerts at the Arts Theatre is focusing on artists that were born and raised in George. The Jazz Connection consists of Georgians Ramon Alexander (piano) and Lynette Petersen (vocals). They are joined by Josh Prinsloo (bass), Annemie Nel, (drums) and Lou-Ann Stone (saxophone), all graduates of Stellenbosch University’s music programme.
One of the greatest challenges in jazz music is treading the fine line between honouring the traditions of the genre, and pursuing the creative freedom that make jazz what it is.
I thought that the Jazz Connection succeeded admirably. Opening with a high energy blues by saxo-phone legend Sonny Rollins, they wove their way through a selection of standards, interspersed with original compositions. Standards included My Funny Valentine, Oleo and Cherokee, and for me, the highlight of the evening, an amazing arrangement of the well-known, Autumn Leaves.
The originals, composed by Ramon, were superb, showing a musical maturity beyond his years. They were also great showcases for the musical talents of the band members, with the drums and bass providing a driving foundation for the melodic exploits of the piano and saxophone, whilst delivering a perfect platform for Lynette’s sweet vocals. The songs covered all the bases, from burning swing, to up tempo Latin numbers, to quiet introspection and heartfelt blues.
A great evening was had by all, with audience members young and old appreciating the music. Ramon mentioned during the show that the band’s new album would be out in August, and I for one will be keeping a lookout for it. If you are a fan of Jazz, especially local Jazz, then I would suggest that you do too.
(Richard van den Ordel)
Posted on: 08:00 Thu, 19 May 2011
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