As soon as the doors opened the Black Box was invaded by a horde of all ages eager for a musically enchanting night; with a list of big names all on a single stage, it was no wonder that thought was believed. The lights went out and the crowd was silenced. The explosion of the drums, saxophone, piano and double bass in one consistent blast instantly justified everyone’s thoughts for the night ahead.
David Lyttle lead the way on drums like a crash of waves repeatedly beating against a cliff while Kyle Tattum blended in well with his piano while occasionally taking the reins to control the tone. On bass was Connor Chaplin, looming over the others and keeping them in pace with the deep and sporadic rhythm. Finally, the saxophone, played masterfully by Soweto Kinch, took full command and rushed the audience with its piercing brilliance.
With absolute precision and order, despite the erratic turn of the piece, this is music that captures the mind. Each song was perfectly composed and instils a wild array of emotions that no one could even attempt to ignore the immense power and talent of these collaborators. So encapsulating these four were that at every gentle and quiet opportunity the hush was broken by the enthusiastic cheers of the crowd, crying out in support. The atmosphere became so enriched and lively in a moment, and this was only the beginning of the night.
While David Lyttle remained on drums throughout the night, his guests, Tattum, Kinch, Chaplin along with Duke Special, Anne Littleton, and John Lyddle came on and off the stage and switched positions throughout the night. Despite a different ensemble each time, the music rarely did. Although the style and tone altered, it made for a uniquely spirited and elegant performance.
Each artist added much more than their talents to each composition, they gave a new vigour and brought the music to life. David Lyttle, with his solo drumming, hooked the crowd with ease, while each time Kinch, Tattum and Chaplin joined in, the crowd gave an uproar of applause. John Lyddle kept a sombre and relaxed backing on keyboards while Anne Littleton and Duke Special produced some of the most harmonious vocals on stage, a remarkable feat especially when sung in broad Belfast accents on occasion. With all guests on stage, the crowd was much more than thrilled, they were awestruck. Only a few commanding collectives of talented artists hold that subtle ability. However, the best was yet to come.
Kinch took over lead vocals at the end of the night, giving his own twist on jazz by uniting the musical styling of jazz with the lyrical fervour of hip-hop. Adopting the use of technology also, he recorded himself into his laptop to be played back, giving him the space to rap without distraction. Bringing the audience into full participation, so much so that they helped with ideas for his lyrics, Kinch became a different kind of force unseen that night. His freestyle combination worked wonders with the crowd and truly escalated the excitement within the room. Incomparable was his performance alone that the night has one more great unforgettable memory to its name.
The night finished on an instrumental rendition of ‘World of Pure Imagination’. Soothing and melodic, it was the perfect song to end the night with. Able to capture the heart, soul and energy of jazz, along with the atmosphere of the night itself, it had allowed everyone to escape within their own imagination that night. It gave a pleasant reminder that jazz really is the music for the mind. Joe Smyth, GiggingNI.com