When Jeff Kashiwa won hearts in Accra

American saxophonist/flutist, Jeff Kashiwa, is likely to have the +233 Jazz Bar & Grill in Accra on his mind for a while to come because that was where he had a roaring time on July 8, 2023 playing to a highly receptive audience.

Alternating  between tenor and soprano saxophones and flute, the repertoire swung from smooth and  straight-ahead  jazz to renditions of chart-topping American soul and R&B classics, jumpy Reggae and energetic percussion breaks. 

It was all like a mini musical tour around the world with one thing clear: Kashiwa, the players with him on stage and the audience were all in a jolly mood as the slow, mid-tempo and brisk pieces unfolded. 

A drizzle set in just as the programme was about to take off at 9.00pm. It persisted till about 10.30pm but everyone hanged in to hear Kashiwa.

Uncle Ken of  Jazz on Joy fame on Joy FM put it aptly when he said after the show that: “The rain tried to do us in but we stayed and jammed.”

A smiling Kashiwa said at the start that he was happy to be in Accra and thanked the audience for their patience. He assured everyone of a lovely evening of music ahead, rain or shine.

He moved into the audience with his tenor sax right from the first song and it set the tone for first-rate musicianship from all.

Nee Sackey on five-string bass was in fine form. He thumbed, slapped and pulled  on his strings as he laid a solid foundation for everyone to float on.

Nee Sackey was in fine form on bass

Phil McPherson was largely unobtrusive on his guitar but fired off intermittent solos that denoted his brilliant status.

Phil MacPherson was crisp on guitar 

Kashiwa at a point, ‘cornered’ keyboardist Kevin Flournoy to a brief but stirring call and response session.  

Kashiwa, at a point, ‘cornered’ Flournoy for a call and response session 

Tenor saxist Bernard Ayisa was on for two songs. As usual, his dexterity on the horn stood out. Drummer Frank Kissi was as propulsive as ever.

Percussionist Oko  Amartey-Fio was a real delight on the night. His ability to coax a variety of tones  at different paces from his conga and djembe drums was appreciated by everyone.

Oko Amartey-Fio delighted all with his playing 

Kashiwa commented on the Ghanaian player’s Japanese-sounding first name and said he could listen to him and Frank  Kissi do their vibrant African groove combination  all-day. 

It was a satisfied–looking Kashiwa as he praised the entire band and drew the audience into a sing-along  on the  last item, close to midnight.  

Dr Adrian Oddoye of +233 said Kashiwa’s trip to Ghana was originally slated for last January. Though circumstances didn’t allow it then,  it had all the same been a pleasure to eventually have him in Accra. 

He pointed out  that the Accra Jazz Project and the Jazz Society of Ghana, which has evolved into the Ghana Jazz Foundation, were keen to keep live music alive in Accra and  have  young musicians educated and engaged so they would be where they want to be, musically. 

Sunday, July 9 was Jazzbecue Day at +233.  Guests relaxed with some tasty grills and drinks with jazz in the background from Kashiwa, GH Jazz Collective and Native Vibe.  

It was definitely a pleasant weekend for jazz lovers at +233.

SOURCE: GraphicOnline

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