Sunday, 30 October 2011

Jazzing Up Central

A class act -- Alfredo Rodriguez and Richard Bona
Last night I was invited to an intimate jazz concert at Sevva on the top floor of Prince's Building in Central.

Periodically the restaurant invites artists to play live and this was the first time I'd attended one of these events.

Less than 100 people were treated to the concert that started late, almost 10pm even though the invite said 9:30pm. My friend and I rushed over there after dinneronly to find we were the second party to arrive.

Nevertheless the music was the ideal antidote after a stressful week at work. American Richard Bona on guitar and vocals and Cuban Alfredo Rodriguez on the piano provided some soothing tunes to relax to. Bona's voice had an amazing range from very low to high, and he created a number of different sounds to accompany his vocals. Meanwhile Rodriguez complemented Bona's music very well, the two of them having a musical conversation that went back and forth.

Listening to some soothing sounds at Sevva
Incidentally Rodriguez has been praised by superstar producer Quincy Jones. "Cuban jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez is an absolute genius and one of the most profound musicians I have ever seen."

He was true to form last night. Soon after the show started Bona was having technical problems with his guitar wired up to the amplifier and couldn't play at all. Rodriguez just continued playing as if nothing happened and it even gave him an opportunity to show off his musical talents even more. He's tall but at the piano he sits hunched over, and reminded me of Schroder in Peanuts, focused on the keys.

After the technical issues were sorted we were treated to some wonderful music including two songs where Bona recorded layered tracks in front of us so that he was singing with his own voice doing various sounds or tunes. He could sing in harmony with himself and the layered effect was amazing, which he attributed to "Hong Kong magic" but really it's the technology musicians like him can play with these days.

During the short intermission we were treated to a glass of champagne and canapes outside on the terrace, a warm autumn evening that would have been even better if we could have heard the jazz live outside.

After the concert we walked home and in Central there were many people dressed up for Halloween. We saw drunk expat teenagers in silly clown costumes, but also a guy in a fuzzy Chewbacca outfit with a girl in white with small pig-tail buns in homage to Princess Leia. We also saw many naughty nurses and girls as she-devils complete with horns and three-pronged spears.

They were all on their way to Lan Kwai Fong for a bit of fun though there was a very heavy police presence there, directing traffic.

Looking up at the skyscrapers in Central
Nevertheless the cutest were little boys and girls with their parents all dressed in costume up to see what all the fuss on the streets was all about.

1 comment:

  1. surprised to learn there is such a crowd of jazz lovers in hk.