When the thrill of being in the audience goes deeper

Bokani Dyer - the Beethoven years.

Bokani Dyer – the Beethoven years.

I was in the audience at The Vortex Jazz Club in Dalston, London, on Thursday evening – in fact it was a rare full nuclear family affair. So, there was the satisfaction of that, and there was the natural excitement of anticipation I always feel before a gig. But there was more – much more – on this occasion.

There were good friends at a table nearby, and new people to be introduced to who had come from half way across the world. It was possible to get a word beforehand with a couple of the musicians we had come to hear, including the band leader who had also come from half way across the world. And this was no ordinary bandleader (not that any bandleader is exactly ordinary by definition): this was family!

I first heard Bokani Dyer playing the piano in my parents-in-law’s home in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. He must have been barely into double figures in age and was playing Für Elise over and over again. I think he had taught himself to play it by ear. His father, my brother-in-law Steve, was already a professional musician by that time but I don’t remember him foisting music upon his son; that would not have been his way…

There was no Beethoven on Thursday evening, but there was a packed Vortex and the music – all Bokani’s and played with a British band of exceptionally fine players – went down very well indeed.

There is a special pleasure from being among like-minded people all enjoying the same music, but there is a much deeper pleasure when not only is it a great gig but it’s a great gig by someone you’re connected to. I must confessed to being deeply impressed by my nephew’s burgeoning talent – and deeply moved, too.

  • I’m much too emotionally involved to review the gig so instead here is a link to Dan Bergsagel’s assessment on London Jazz News.
  • And here is one from African Jazz.
  • And here is one from Kevin Le Gendre in Jazzwise.


Categories: Live review

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