Sunday, 12 July 2015

Theo Croker & Nettwork live

Yuri and I went to see Theo Croker and Dvrk Funk performing at Plaza Santa Ana in Vegueta. It was a pleasant surprise to discover this American band. Yes, a classic jazz quintet format (Theo Croker, trumpet; Michael King, keyboards; Kassa Overall, drums; Anthony Ware, reeds and Eric Wheeler, double bass), playing mostly original compositions, melodic, full of interesting rhythmical twists and, indeed, funky — not all the time, just enough time to keep the audience happy. Hardly groundbreaking stuff, but then again, sometimes you need to keep the ground intact and concentrate on delivering the quality music. What they did.

When they finished, Yuri went home. Judging by his saying that is was not exactly his cup of steak, he didn’t enjoy the music as much as I did. I wonder what would he make of the next act, which was a totally different, er, bucket o’shrimp.

Featuring Charnett Moffett (electric bass), Stanley Jordan (electric guitar, keyboards), Casimir Liberski and Jeff “Tain” Watts (drums), Nettwork could be called a jazz supergroup. Jordan is one of my all-time axe heroes, and his Stolen Moments (also featuring Moffett) is one of the finest jazz guitar recordings ever. I was really looking forward to see them live. But there’s an inherent danger with supergroups: the whole is often less than the sum of its parts. Don’t get me wrong, it was not bad at all, for a bunch of guys jamming together, but I expected more than that. Take the first composition (don’t know the title, for Nettwork didn’t bother to introduce their songs): imagine the intro to Speed King played for fifteen minutes. I mean, you only can play so much of one chord, even with yummy solos. For me, the band did not compare favourably with Dvrk Funk who were more “together” and took less time to deliver their message. Oh, and they should lose that singing.

As for Stanley Jordan, he appeared to lose none of his magic touch. I hope to see him playing again.

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