Brecon Jazz Festival 2013: 9th August 2013
If one could ever combine Caribbean flavour and jerk spices with jazz then Courtney Pine would certainly be the man for the job! At Brecon Jazz this year, Pine presented his House of Legends in the unusual environment of a market hall, surprisingly, a well suited space for his performance with less reverberation than expected. With flawless technique and the mastery of circular breathing, this legend played demanding music with ease and big servings of calypso joy. His show becomes more enticing as he presents an electronic wind instrument known as the ‘EWI’ (‘ee-wee’). Unbeknownst to the audience, his clever tongue-in-cheek play on traditional songs such as Pop Goes the Weasel and the ability to use his instruments as a vocal medium allowed us into the inner workings of Courtney Pine’s music.
An excellent ambassador for British Jazz, he is all too aware that developing youth and their interest in this blue-note world is integral. Courtney presented his recent album House of Legends to a boy free of charge in an unorthodox fashion, a USB stick. This is the first time this has been seen in the jazz world, and perhaps a cheeky but innovative way of progressing with technology and the inevitable domination of the download market.
With excellent international, talented individuals, Courtney’s humbleness allowed for those members to enjoy and perform in a prestigious festival, many for the first time. Recalling his first experience of playing at the Brecon Jazz Festival during the ‘90s, it seems that Courtney continues to get nervous about performing at such an esteemed venue.
With an impromptu extension of his performance, Pine and his fellow musicians were definitely playing for the people. An innovative, passionate jazz musician who brings originality and a bit of the Caribbean to his show, Courtney Pine never disappoints.