As said earlier the 'Flute off' in Limbo Jazz goes to my grave. The second 'moment' was one of the transitions during Take 5 from Wynton's orchestra over to Baqir Abbass on the flute. It was one of those transitions that just epitomised the unbelievable skill and expertise that was on display.
Blues Walk and Sherman Irby was just bliss. I could have gone on listening to him play the Sax like that indefinitely.
New Orleans Blues was truly amazing as its a genuine, full on New Orleans track. If you never knew the title but heard the track you'd immediately say 'this can only be from New Orleans'. Wynton kicks off this track with a full on trumpet. Ustad Ballu Khan on the tabla and Najaf Ali on the Dhol seamlessly add to this into and the track lends itself perfectly to the sound of the table and dhol from the 'Punjab'.
I'm sitting there in the front row of the Rose Theatre watching this revolutionary display of merging music cultures and I'm thinking of my father who sadly passed away in 2011. He loved music as much as anyone and I couldn't help thinking how much he would have enjoyed to see where these musicians from Lahore had ended up and the accolades they are receiving. At this moment there was no script in the world that could have prepared me for what was coming!
Noor Jehan is that voice of Pakistan that reflects the 'golden era' of Pakistan. Her music flourished in every household, city, and village throughout Pakistan during the 50's, 60's 70's and 80's and even today. I didn't come to know of her and love her music of my own accord. I did so because my parents both appreciated her and listened to her music. My sounds of 'childhood' equate to the music of Noor Jehan, Lata, Rafi, and Nusrat. As these sounds take me to a place of comfort I have extensive collections on all of them. One of my late fathers favourite tracks was Noor Jehans 'Sanno Nehr Waly Pul Tey Bula Key'. So when they started playing it out of nowhere (as I had not seen the playlist prior) can you imagine the state I was in? Utterly blown away and I looked up getting comfort from the fact my father was also enjoying this night.
This collaboration represents so much that goes beyond 'music'. Both groups are respective ambassadors of their professions, nations and culture. If man spent more time like these musicians trying to bridge gaps in understanding of respective cultures and extend themselves to one another what an amazing world this could be. For some reason as nations we choose to isolate ourselves from one another when we have disagreements. Since when has 'not talking' ever been a solution?
Wynton and Sachal could have taken the same stance. In The USA the media is so controlled and manipulated there is nothing positive ever reported on 'Pakistan'. Could this collaboration not have backfired for Wynton? Likewise for Sachal. In Pakistan US drones are causing havoc in certain regions where 'collateral damage', aka 'the murder of innocent civilians' is totally accepted only to fuel nationwide anger and hatred of US forces. But they didn't. Maybe such things were never even a consideration as we're talking about 'pure' musicians here.
What these two groups are doing, goes beyond music and enters the realms of humanity. I thank you for having the wisdom to see it, the courage to act on it, and the will to see it through.
Click on the image below for The New York Times Review of this concert.