The Goo 1
Live Reviews Contd. BILLY O HANLUAIN Abdullah Ibr
ahim National Concert Hall If Samuel Beckett had been a jazz musician there is every chance he would have sounded like Abdullah Ibrahim. Beckett’s late poetry which condensed language to its bare, yet most essential utterances has much in common with how Ibrahim uses the piano to sketch fragments that shimmer and dissolve in the manner of Satie compositions; like Beckett he is a cartographer of the contours of Silence. Tonight’s performance is intimate and chamber-like, eschewing pyrotechnics for subtleties that if listened BILLY O HANLUAIN Brian Jackson The Sugar Club There is little worse in life than a grudge that has lost sight of its own origin, when a grievance suffered congeals into a lifelong resentment, and you run up a toxic tab with all the bitterness you’ve served yourself on tick. Thankfully for those who attended tonight’s show, this is not how Brian Jackson has dealt with the legacy of collaborating with Gil Scott Heron and being sorely stung in the process. (He has received no royalties since the 80’s for the nine albums he co-wrote and musically directed with Heron including KATE DELANEY Damien Dempsey Iveagh Gardens A summer evening to behold, my first experience of the Church of Damo. It’s easy now to understand the following. With the support of 6 musicians on stage, songs written over 20 years roll out to the faithful, the audience loving every minute of ‘Chris and Stevie’, ‘Negative Vibes’, and ‘Apple of My Eye’. Communal singing was the order of the night; from the PAGE 20 first note to the last, while dedicated fans had the lyrics ingrained, the simple melody and message of ‘It’s All Good’ glides home. An opportunity for straight men to hold arms and sway in unison to songs that go to the heart. Damien’s heart, our hearts, they are one and the same tonight. Seán McKeon on uilleann pipes delivers ‘Rocky Road to Dublin’ and brings out the dancing - no opportunity shall be missed. The rendition of ‘Crazy World’, a fitting tribute to Christy Dignam, marks his passing and his contribution to the Irish music scene over decades. Damien’s live performances, with a unique power and sincerity, serve as a reminder that old and new can be brought together to make something very special. As a summer resident at the Iveagh Gardens for so many years now, Damien is part of its hallowed land, as are his loyal fans. No rain tonight though plenty of tears. Everyone leaves with a powerful reminder to “Love yourself today”. two seminal poetically infused Funk albums Pieces of a Man and Winter in America. Jackson, instead, pays homage to Gil and reconciles his differences with him by joyfully celebrating the crucial work they created together throughout the 70’s, a legacy that still reverberates with relevance today, not just in how it has been multiply sampled (Kanye West/ Kendrick Lamar) but in how lyrically and musically songs such as ‘The Bottle’, ‘Home is where the Hatred is’ and ‘Lady Day and John Coltrane’ are still incisively contemporary, none of their ghetto grit has been smoothed by nostalgia. Heron and Jackson were true Laureates of The Projects. Jackson accompanies his soulful streetwise baritone, with a virtuoso command of the keys that evokes the cosmic funk of Lonnie Liston Smith and Headhunters era Herbie Hancock, but it is when he pulls out the flute that the party jam really kicks off. He is supported by a laid back but buckle tight trio. Multi-instrumentalist Lex Cameron, who previously worked with Chaka Khan and Amy Winehouse, is the ace in the pack as he juggles synth, guitar, and riff-soaked flute solos with ineffable cool. The packed dance floor is testament to the fact that anger may be an energy, but forgiveness is the sweetest revenge. to attentively allow you hear a desert storm in a grain of sand. It is the sound of the opaque lapping of the outermost ripples in a pond, the stone splashed in the water is of little concern here, only its ethereal aftermath. Ibrahim’s slightest notes evoke a faint breath that fans the furnace in an ember. He has achieved a late career simplicity that recalls Picasso’s words of having taken a lifetime to paint like a child. There's a Zen-like paradox at the heart of his music in that he gives entirely of himself while exercising great discipline in exploring the beauty of restraint. Ibrahim’s style owes much to his mentor Thelonious Monk in his use of both space and dissonance and his refusal to resolve chord progressions in predictable ways, resolution is so often left suspended midair like Confucian riddles that defy simple interpretations. Accompanying Ibrahim on stage are Noah Jackson on bass and cello and Cleave Guyton on Saxophone and Flute who between them do much of the heavy lifting in terms of soloing in a traditional jazz sense. It is a rare thing to witness a display of such delicacy; seldom has the ineffable been so articulate. To paraphrase Beckett, Ibrahims’s sparse notes are luminous stains on the silence.