Ottawa Revue, Reviews, Spotlight, The Revue — June 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm

ELEPHANT SAX BUT NO HAT

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HAMID DRAKE with COLIN STETSON

THE OTTAWA JAZZ FESTIVAL

NAC 4th Stage, June 23

Night two of Colin Stetson’s brief Jazz Fest residency, and he still has enough breath to blow for a solid hour. It’s a feast for both ears and eyes, especially when he moves the very large volume of air in the dwarfing bass saxophone. Circular breathing allows Stetson to create a continuous melody mood for happy drummer Hamid Drake to feed off of. Tonight is a meeting of two big stars: Drake who has cemented his legacy with stints with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Archie Shepp, while Stetson is busy building and confounding his legacy by dropping honks with Arcade Fire and Godspeed You Black Emperor. It’s a perfect meeting of musical minds which belies their two decades of playing separation (Drake was already established when Stetson came out of the womb). They weave in and out of each others’ runs, sparring and complimenting each other like boxing dancers. When not forced to carry the weight of a solo performance (his forte), Stetson shows he can step back, create a mood, and step in for a rousing blast when the time is right. Superb. Two standing ovations, and a great Afro-beat trance encore featuring a hand drum and Drake’s hypnotic vocals.

colinST1

(pics by author)

 

 

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