Published on July 4th, 2018 | by Stacey McLaughlin0
Jazzfest Review: Ghost Note
Ghost Note played The Capital stage during the Sasktel Saskatchewan Jazz Festival; our intrepid reporter Stacey was there to dance and get with the funk.
Ghost-Note took the stage at The Capitol with howls from the crowd, who were loud and rambunctious, but seemed genuinely appreciative. People were dancing all night throughout the venue and whether they were bobbing to the music, or standing on the benches along the wall, the music made them move their bodies. Laughter peppered throughout the crowd, along with boisterous conversation – but the music was still heard over it all, roaring over it, in fact.
The band returned this energy in kind with a lively, groovy, and tight style that they described on stage as, “soft and funky.” The funk was definitely not in short supply. This was music that you could really feel, smooth and enjoyable. Throughout the show, they demonstrated a good balance between lyric and freestyle. Their notes and runs were clear and articulate; the drum hits defined. There were show stopping riffs, catchy hooks, and head turning Latin beats got many people to start dancing again once they had quit. The expertly executed use of free form solos enhanced the performance rather than taking away from it, which can be a risk with jazz music. When a performer’s ego gets away from them they can spoil a whole performance by going overboard with their solos, but all of these musicians knew how to both express themselves while still keeping it entertaining for the crowd – and it was that balance that made this performance so enjoyable, they are truly masters of their craft. The added influence of hip hop was apparent and noted by the band members themselves. Although jazz and hip hop share many commonalities, the marrying of these two genres doesn’t always result in a satisfying outcome, but in this case it was fluid result.
Instrumentally this band was very interesting. They featured two drummers, yet sounded almost as if there was only one drummer, just fuller. This was a testament to how tight their sound was. I also fully enjoyed the addition of a synth to the line-up. It’s not necessarily a traditional jazz instrument, but I suppose they are not a traditional band, and the use of it was absolute perfection. Their tenor sax player also switched between several instruments, including the bari-Sax and a flute, which demonstrates a degree of flexibility and musical prowess.
While the band had many excellent and catchy tunes, one in particular seemed to get an especially positive reaction from the crowd. They prefaced it with a story about how they are from the US and how they were less than pleased with the current political climate in their country, and how they had dedicated this song to one they call ‘President Twitter.’ The name of the song was, “Funk You Mother Funker,” the announcement of which, of course, resulted in cheers and whoops from the crowd. The song was a slippery, funky track with complex key signatures that told a story without needing any words. It definitely had some scathing undertones, and I know one thing for sure – while it was fun to listen to, I wouldn’t want a song like that written about me.
I will close off by saying this band was so incredibly talented and such a pleasure to listen to, but it’s no surprise when you review their bio. The bands that these musicians have worked with read like a who’s who in popular music, everyone from Prince to Jay-Z, Janet Jackson, and Justin Timberlake. If you get a chance to see them perform live, take it! But in the mean time check out their music, you will not be disappointed.