I wanted to close my eyes. No, not because it was boring but because Ginger Baker along with Alec Dankworth (bass), Abass Dodoo (percussion) and Andy Sheppard (saxophone) created an amazing aural landscape that made one want to close their eyes and let the imagination be carried away by it.
Although the legendary saxophonist, Pee Wee Ellis couldn’t make it due to surgery on his lip (“a problem for a horn player”, quipped Baker) Sheppard was a more than capable replacement. He even took it in good humour when it took Baker a few goes to get his name right (Alan?).
The set itself was nothing short of riveting with highlights such as Ginger Spice and others penned by the likes of Thelonius Monk and Sonny Rollins with the hypnotic bass of Dankworth, Dodoo’s energetic playing and Sheppard’s colourful flourishes. We also get a taste of his new album, Why? Naturally, Baker is the star. Despite being 74 years of age and out of breath while at rest due to severe COPD, his drumming still contains the showmanship and brilliance of his days in Cream.
Safe to say it was a privilege to be able to see such a legend live and in his element. Long may he keep on doing what he does best.
Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
1st – 11th May 2014 – Cathedral Quarter, Belfast
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