Monday, March 12, 2007

Zoe Rahman

Went to see the Zoe Rahman trio at The Phoenix's temporary "Voodoo Lounge" last night. (ZR - piano, Gene Calderazzo - drums, Oly Hayhurst - bass).

Zoe tore it down, as expected. And smiled radiantly throughout.

She was more there and at one with her music than any other player I can remember watching. Complex streams of notes and tonal clusters were springing forth from her fingers like lightning bolts, and she made its seem beyond effortless. She was smiling, almost laughing, almost continually, as if she were delighting in her inexplicable ability to channel this extraordinary music. The only musical reference point I can think of would be Thelonius Monk.

The night before I was at a housewarming party not far from the Quay - Matt (friend of Glen from Panacea who's a friend of Pok) and Eve's place. I'd been asked to come in character as Prof. Appleblossom, and bring my saz (I did both). People were taking turns on the decks, but Matt wanted an acoustic set, so the sound system got switched off, and I ended up jamming through a tinny little practice amp with Lewis, a Welsh djembe player. Lewis was the first to admit that he was profoundly intoxicated, yet he was able to play five and seven rhythms with surprising accuracy and fluidity. We got the room jumping with a jam, a version of "Levitating the Pentagon" and a very lively "And So". Lewis was rolling himself a number on his drumskin just as we were meant to start, so I signalled to the DJ to keep playing - it was a woman with blond dreadlocks full of sparkly paraphenalia (it was her birthday too, I think) playing the best selection of Jamaican dancehall and old school hiphop I can remember hearing. At this point she put on the Ultramagnetic MCs "Travelling at the Speed of Thought", which I hadn't heard for years, and I ended up jamming along, which worked surprisingly well.


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