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Cozy evening at home for jazz

Published: 
Tuesday, June 5, 2018

On an otherwise socially busy Friday evening last week, the cozy Ethnic Jazz Club (EJC) studio in Woodbrook, home of jazz ensemble Moyenne, hosted a free “open session” for musicians before a small audience that mostly concluded it was the best place to be that evening.

EJC leader, keyboardist Chantal Esdelle, hopes for a better response from musicians next time around on July 6. However, there was no holding back from Moyenne regulars, bassist Douglas Redon and pannist Natasha Joseph who, along with Esdelle, fed a musically knowledgeable audience an eclectic menu of jazz standards and jazzy interpretations of calypso, Latin and pop hits.

Opening with Duke Ellington’s Caravan, at the request of Redon who wanted to start with a “bang,” the trio could not help but show off with energetic solos in delivering this timeless classic.

Then, following a largely faithful rendition of the melodic Besame Mucho, the trio dug into the calypso wonder-bag to find Lord Kitchener’s Sugar Bum Bum which restored the opening tempo on the evening.

The evening would not have been complete without an offering from the Clive Zanda playbook.

This time it was his Chip Down. The challenging task was left to Esdelle to lead the way on the keys. Zanda is himself an EJC regular.

There was some skillful improvisation on Tito Puente’s Oye Como Va and closure came with an inspired rendition of Autumn Leaves, the early French jazz standard popularised in the US in the 1950s by Nat King Cole.

The plan for these “open sessions” is to feature musicians who won’t mind rubbing shoulders with other accomplished colleagues on the first Friday of every month.

This will run for the rest of the year to help mark 20 years since the establishment of Moyenne as one of the country’s leading jazz bands.

The actual anniversary is June 25 and this will be specially marked by four shows on June 22 and 23—two sets per evening.

The other activity planned by EJC is to present Jazz Cuts comprising video “snippets” of past performances by Moyenne and other leading jazz artists on the Club’s Facebook page.

Last Friday, Esdelle related the story behind the modest facility at 51 Cornelio Street, Woodbrook, saying the proceeds from previous shows, along with contributions from supporters, had helped improve accommodations at the studio.

The EJC studio has come a long way since the cramped space was launched as a venue for first-class jazz offerings. It has hosted numerous sessions with leading local, regional and international jazz musicians.

“Join us as the newest configuration of Moyenne explores our classic originals with new sound and presents new originals with our classic sound,” Esdelle says of the upcoming sessions later this month.

She is also encouraging jazz lovers to join the group’s mailing list by contacting EJC at [email protected]

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