James’ Brand New Blog

Hair & MacHomer & London Pro Musica plus guests & Alain Trudel & Gene DiNovi w/ Orchestra #ldnont

- May 7th, 2012

panwar duo

Two of the great artists who were the guests of London Pro Musica on Saturday: Hemant, left, and Vaishali Panwar in an undated photo courtesy of kathakdanceduo.com

There was so much A&E fun on the weekend, JBNBlog can only take a deep breath & say here we go &, oh yeah, there is a language alert for Hair, when we finally get there:

Working backwards, on Sunday afternoon, Alain Trudel & Gene DiNovi led Orchestra London & two other jazz aces — bassist Dave Young & drummer Ernesto Cervini — through a salute to jazz giants . . . already the jazz concert of the year for Trudel & Young teaming on Blue Monk, something added to the program, or for Trudel playing the famous trombone solo (Jack Jenny or Jenney) on Artie Shaw’s Stardust & also Shaw’s clarinet solo . . . on trombone! Plus DiNovi’s piano throughout & his reading of the lyrics for Gordon Jenkins’s This is All I Ask . . . (after the concert, oboist Ian Franklin said how deeply moved he’d been by the reading & recalled the version on A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night where so many of the orchestral players on the Nilsson-Jenkins collaboration are pictured, a great idea) . . . plus the farewell to principal flutist since 1978 Annelie Metrakos, who is retiring at the end of the season, with the jazz quartet’s There Will Never Be Another You. Amazing medleys & it would appear Duke Ellington, who once said of a 1970s era forerunner of Orchestra London “These cats can swing” was right.

Everything sounded swell . . . Centennial Hall’s sightlines from our corner in NW balcony meant we couldn’t see a few happenings on stage . . .we applauded the Bev Petch volunteer award recipients w/o seeing them. Bev, you are missed. What a contribution you made.

Political detour: the fun had started a little earlier Sunday when our guest from France, basking at a mutual friend’s in Old South, was overjoyed to see, via Internet from France & earlier details via Belgian commentators, that Hollande had beaten Sarkozy.

On Saturday night, London Pro Musica sang beautiful South Asian choral material & outstanding guests from Richmond Hill’s Panwar Music and Dance Productions added movement, sounds & beats from India to the night. It was tremendous & JBNBlog salutes his Kala Manjari neighbours & all involved for a wonderful evening at Gateway church, missed by 353,000 Londoners.

A salute to the soloists, conductor Andrew Petrasiunas and accompanist John Yun for all their contributions . . . & for the Holst on the program, too.
This night richly deserves a revisit.

Saturday afternoon, Stratford Shakespeare Festival had the official opening of MacHomer at the Studio Theatre. JBNBlog is mulling more on MacHomer — but can recommend Rick Miller’s tour de force  blend of the Bard & Bart (well, Bart has a small role) & dozens of characters from The Simpsons as laugh out loud funfunfun. Some of the biggest laughs arrive via celebrity guest impersonations such as bang on Sean Connery.

On Friday night at the Grand Theatre, Hair provided strongly sung & splendidly played top-flight enjoyment. There is so much ace music in Hair, the words (the drama that is) tend to lose out . . . at least on my Friday night experience. Maybe the era is gone . . . it used to have menace, edge or something & as much fun as was had & laughs aloud, it would be even more so to have that sheer edge . . . still, to hear (language alert language alert) the occasional “motherfucker” on the Grand stage — where hell or damn once produced hilarious fainting fits of nervous giggles  – & see group nudity albeit through a screen darkly is plenty of 1968 rebellion for now. Also recommended . . . & you  have about a week to get on down &  experience the Grand production. So go.

 

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