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Lagos Jazz Series 2017, a Nigerian affair

Brymo has just put his glasses down
Brymo has just put his glasses down
A red carpet covered the swimming pool in the leafy courtyard of Moorhouse hotel. Long tables, with chairs on one side only, had been arranged over it parallel to the stage. The organisers had thankfully done away with the usual round tables around which half of the seats can't possibly give a decent sight of the stage.
Lagos Jazz Series 2017, the latest edition of Lagos Jazz Series, was an entirely Nigerian affair with its theme "back to the basics".
Oti B: anything else would be uncivilised
Oti B: anything else would be uncivilised
Oti Bazunu is the man that made it possible for that one night to take place. In a way, back to the basics, may have a broader meaning since the vintage and now legendary Oti's cellar is also transitioning to something new, due to open early next year.
Ed Keazor, a historian, a lawyer and a keen singer, was the MC of the evening, a perfect host never short of praise for the talent of artists (maybe it helps to be a lawyer!).
Etuk Ebong and his band
Etuk Ebong's trumpet delivered a very intimate and polished performance with his band. He managed to create an atmosphere which was somewhat meditative and in touch with tradition, especially with the opening piece representing a libation to ancestors with a calabash under a blue light. It also had its moments of energy and was full of nuances. The drummer enjoyed himself very much, especially when he was wearing a crown of bells around his head.
Brymo was magnificent with his powerful voice, he really captured the audience with his Lagos Touts (the name of his band). Not sure if it was an intentional reference to his modest background, but he was wearing large transparent glasses as he walked up on stage for his first song which gave him an air of precious okada driver. He did not fail to sing "Prick no get shoulder" (if you put the head, the rest dey enter). I enjoyed the farcical face of the bass player.
The Lagos Jazz Sextet was at his best with a new repertoire of classic jazz pieces, beside Eyo, a Lagos folklore song which Ed helped sing along.
A pretty young lady, in her twenties, dressed in a sparkling black and silver dress and yellow hat with long pheasant feathers closed the show. Jazzz is Oti's latest very promising find. Her voice is surprisingly versatile, ranging soulful and high-pitched notes as well as deep hoarse sounds, as if she had had a long career drinking whisky and smoking cigars, or perhaps sounding a bit like a female Louis Armstrong. So watch out this space for her next moves.


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