Live reviews

Black Lives Generation to Generation at Ronnie Scott’s

Black Lives Generation to Generation

(Ronnie Scott’s . 25 May 2023. First house. Review by Sebastian Scotney)

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There is music and there is message. First the music, then. At Ronnie Scott’s, the sheer physical sensation of having anything up to fourteen musicians of the calibre of Black Lives Generation to Generation on stage at one time completely fills the ears, the heart, the soul.

I hold at least three impressions in mind from this powerfully kaleidoscopic evening:

  • At the centre of it all, bassist Reggie Washington, a natural leader, cue-ing in an unbelievable succession of star turns with musicians from a great range of heritages. It needs someone to bring this “rich sample of the infinite number of ways to conceive Black existence in the world” into being, and then to bring it to a close, and as master of this parade of ceremonies, this fine electric bassist is perfect casting.
  • One massive, overwhelming intensity build in a long solo from star trumpeter Jeremy Pelt. That was also the point where I understood why this band has two drummers Gene Lake and Marque Gilmore. The joyous intensity in the joint stare with which they both fixed on Pelt was an object lesson in working together, finding higher and higher levels of energy
  • Tutu Pouane. My colleague John Stevenson in his album review described her as its “hidden gem”…”weaving a hypnotic spell with her enthralling vocals”. And I don’t think I want to attempt to argue or embellish that. Except to single out last Thursday’s pianist Federico González Peña – a name I want to hear more from. Any day of the week. Wow.

That was the music, but there is also intention, purpose, message. This is, after all,  “a collective of artists who are continuing to fight for equality and social justice through music”. I am not criticising Ronnie’s at all, but this band does exist in order to set the listener thinking about injustice, about the need for expression…which is not the easiest thing to do while eating supper…Someone will have an idea for the right venue… or perhaps the second house was different (?)

LINK: Black Lives Generation to Generation website

Categories: Live reviews, Reviews

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