Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at holidazeandhellidaze.blogspot.com.au or www.pandoraandmax.blogspot.com
Published June 16th 2013
Bold Brass Grooves
My partner leans towards Jazz while I'm more of a world music fan, so when I heard about this fusion band, I thought I may be onto something that would please us both. So we headed down for the CD launch party of the new singles for Mister Ott. The party was more of a concert at 505 in Surry Hills.
Mister Ott is a 6 piece band lead by Sydney-based Kiwi saxophonist Matt Ottignon. Last night, however, with a guest percussionist, Steve Marin and guest saxophonist, Peter Farrar, 8 musicians crammed the tiny stage - Daniel Pliner's grand piano stole a lot of the space!
Opening with some numbers by The Ethiopians, mixing that old school jazz of the '60's with African beats and sounds, one song even had some choral chanting. Then they moved into some originals, including the very infectious Take it Higher - the first single release of the night. Take if Higher is has much more of a funky groove and the influences much more subtle.
The second original was an Indian influenced piece of music, that had been written for a Bollywood film. Shalimar the Clown showcased the very impressive finger work of Eden Ottignon, and was a completely different sound to all the music up until that point in the evening.
My favourite, however, was the very simple, scaled back yet forlornly melodic opening number of the second set, with just the piano and sax. Old school style at it's best, a song by Sebastian Yirga.
Then it was into dance mode - the festivities were launched with the second single release of the night, 'Mattaraja' - with guest dancers, Miguel & Fenix, that can be seen in the film clip.
Next came some traditional Ethiopean dancers, in traditional dress, highlighting the seamless integration of the musical influences. The band members really enjoyed this number, and Ellen Kirkwood (trumpet), Ben Panucci (guitar), Dan Kennedy (drums) were delighting in the grooves.
It was a fun night with great music, and it's well worth checking out Mister Ott on iTunes and even on old fashioned CD. The singles were mixed by Chris Townend and mastered by Grammy Award winner William Bowden. A more eloquent description of the musical style comes from the band itself: "an amalgamation of native melodies from many sources, blended with the free-form improvisation and syncopation for which African-pedigreed jazz is renowned." If you're looking for some new music, Mister Ott is not a bad place to start.