Drug That Heals
29 November, 2012
Drug That Heals
Giants of Contemporary Jazz Music Present Multicolored Concerts

Giants of the contemporary jazz music were the guests of Georgia in the framework of Tbilisi Jazz Festival last week. From November 21 to November 25, these people were telling their life stories via jazz language. The exceptional sold-outs for all performances are attributed to the ‘gradually growing taste of the public’ who, from festival to festival, from year to year and since 2010, from month to month, are waiting for jazz
performers, which has turned into a little bit of a “healthy drug”. But this drug does not harm but just the contrary, heals.
Neither of the concerts resembled to others and this was one of the main assets of the program – being exhaustive and rich in palette. The representatives of Eastern Promotion, company in-charge, confessed that it is impossible to like all of them, but an ordinary listener would find at least one who would suit his/her musical taste and enjoy it to the very core. For me personally, the most imposing ones were the initial one - the only lady performer Dee Dee Bridgewater and the final one, Chick Corea, owner of 18 Grammies – unimaginable!
Sixty-three-year-old Dee Dee Bridgewater, owner of three Grammies and Tony Awards, UNESCO Ambassador, lit a real fire of talent, which was something cosmic rather than earthly. Her inspirations were Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday. Being one of the leading female vocal singers, she has worked with all the great instrumentalists, counting Sonny Rollins, Dizzy Gillespie, Dexter Gordon, Max Roach and Roland Kirk among her list of past collaborators. The performer was very sociable with the Georgian audience and remembered his last visit 40 years ago in Tbilisi, when she was pregnant and added that now this “baby” (daughter) is her manager. Lady Bridgewater started with a black woman’s characteristic vigor by a melody of her friend called “The Music is the Magic”. This disposition never left the hall, so touching were all of her songs, including Billie Holiday’s “Lady Sings the Blues”, which was a nice switch to blues, as well as Holiday’s “Fine and Mellow”. She managed to be a show-woman of animation and a symbol of sexuality while performing “Love for Sale” – what ovations from the parterre. However, Dee Dee would transform into a saint’s image, while singing something really supreme. Female romanticism was also there. What an unimaginable potential and scale of skill, flawless concert really with all its female elegance and sparkling, and a wonderful man’s band too. Her “Besame Mucho” was really unforgettable. “Apart from being a marvelous singer, she is a great musician and a real instrumentalist by her manner of thinking”, Dini Virsaladze, Georgian female jazz pianist told Georgian Journal.
Jack Dejohnette is not my favorite to be very frank. However, people sitting in Event Hall, said that they listened to the very difficult music retold in a simple way. He ended concert by Miles Davis’ piece. Jack Dejohnette’s last album was released several days before the Tbilisi Jazz Festival. It was something beyond my mind. But what an intellectual this great drummer is, Jesus!
Nils Landgren, Swedish funk and jazz trombone player and vocalist, really managed to cheer up the audience. With its Funk unit, singing “All we need is funk”, and “Funk for life’, he summoned the audience for dance and the whole event hall was in motion, surrounded by skyscrapers from the walls, which was really strengthening the feeling of being as if in America.
Giorgi Kereselidze, co-founder of Eastern Promotion said: “The artists themselves were very contented not talking about the audience. They were really pleased by the manner how the Georgian public received them.”
Gaioz Kandelaki, who is a musician and who stood in the vanguard of Jazz tradition’s birth in Georgia commented: “Jazz has a big plus compared to other realms of art – it can bring unfamiliar musicians together who form a great festivity jointly. That feature makes jazz the most democratic and most peace-making art. As Bach and Beethoven will never get old in classic music, so are these performers in jazz, ‘destined’ to immortality.”
The finale performance of Chick Corea Trio together with Christian McBride and Brian Blade turned into a real culmination of the festival. The hall was particularly cordial, as it was the second time for him to Georgia. The better psychotherapy I have ever listened to. Mr. Corea is like a grasshopper and his “field” in the direct and indirect sense of this word is piano. The bassist was really expressive and the Cello was not behind the other two either. It is difficult to believe that this man – 18-Grammy holder Chick Corea who has been nominated for 51 times, is 71 years old and still so lively and animated. After one-hour’s program, the hall summoned them for encore. Later on, Chick Corea offered a mixture of Salsa music that would give away his national Sicilian-Spanish roots. The main surprise of the concert became its final part, when eventually Mr. Corea summoned as he calls ‘a friend of his’ Georgian 16-year-old jazzman Beka Gochiashvili. “This is your best diplomat abroad”, said great maestro. The two friends who had been discovered just before the concert by a group of journalists, having quite an urgent conversation, which was not heard because of distance and window glass, but which was rich with gestures and for sure, very useful for Beka who is predicted a nice future musical career, performed Chick Corea’s world-known piece “Spain”. The audience found itself into an artistic oblivion.
Tbilisi Jazz Festival has been closed for one year. Jazz lovers will have to wait until February 2013 when monthly jazz series are starting.
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