Friday, August 08, 2008

A New Chapter Of Summertime

why I should stick to writing and DJing: the fuzzy Abyssinians at Harbourfront

July and August have remained busy for me in print. Here are some links to my work.

The Abyssinians proved they are still magnetic performers. I spoke with lead singer Bernard Collins in the week leading up to the show; he proved to be as generous and spirtual as his songs suggest. The show was fantastic. Harmonies were a little more wayward than last time, but the band had surprising energy onstage given the meditative pace of most of the songs. The band and the crowd loved it. I wasn't the only one there en famille. Also at Harbourfront last weekend was Michael Rose, who did not live up to expectations.

One of late June's highlights at Harbourfront was Seun Kuti, whose high octane Afrobeat generated pogoing in its most frenzied moments. He was a man of few words in conversation, but he has a certain something (rock and roll 'tude?) which seems to attract more attention than his half brother Femi did when he broke out nearly ten years ago.

The Bug played the Drake last month. Unfortunately I was unable to interview Kevin Martin over the phone; he was in China at the time this article was being written. However, being a former journalist, he gave great e-mail. The exchange is recounted here.

I never miss an opportunity to write about James Brown, and a crucial 3 DVD set called I Got The Feeling was released this past Tuesday. Tightly focused on Brown's music and persona in 1968, it contains a splendid documentary entitled "The Night James Brown Saved Boston" about his role he played preventing riots in Boston following the assasination of Martin Luther King.

Finally, I wrote a profile of hang-tough Quebecois jazz label Red Toucan. I didn't realize that this label had been around for 15 years. As with everyone involved with the business of avant-jazz, proprietor Michel Passaretti was self-deprecating but passionate about his work. I've been enjoying their release of the Szilard Mezei Ensemble's "Nad/Reed" these days.

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Blogger hyfen said...

Rose had absolutely no traction during the first half of the show. He shouldn't have even attempted any call and response.

Part of the problem is the venue though. All the quiet people end up getting the seats at the front leaving all the energy to dissipate outside of the main enclosure. I wonder what would happen if they removed a few rows from the front and made the venue easier to get in and out of (there are only a few tight places through which you can squeeze inside).

10:30 a.m.  
Blogger Dacks said...

Good point about the venue, it would be interesting to see the first few rows, or have the option of removable seats, cause not all shows on the main stage provoke dancing.

Any free show has the problem of attracting a potentially large number of casual spectators which can outnumber hardcore fans, and Harbourfront seems particularly prone to it. I think your suggestion of making a "fan zone" down front makes sense.

I ended up with a seat during that show until I got up and walked around; the guy next to me read a book all through the show. Talk about dissipating the energy...

10:48 a.m.  
Blogger Unknown said...


If anyone out there is in the New York City area, you can get $25 tickets to see Fela! A New Musical Off-Broadway by going to and using code Social1


3:19 p.m.  

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