When I first saw him play in 2009, I’d gone to hear the extempo and steel pan virtuosos Relator and Andy Narrel. Yet, Etienne led me to an appreciation of the trumpet. I have played his album Folklore so many times that when he struck up ‘Douens’ on Saturday afternoon, Kwame exclaimed that he’d heard it before.
This week I’m celebrating another fellow country man. But he’s alive, jiving and swinging with his quintet at Jazz at Lincoln Center, St Regis hotel, Doha.
On Friday he took us on a journey from his worshipful interpretation of Monk’s ‘Green Chimneys’ via a transcendental version of Marley’s ‘Turn The Lights Down Low’ to a sensuous farewell by Kitchener’s ‘Audrey’, it was one of those joyous nights that makes the pain of Doha worth it.
And there was a lagniappe – a children’s concert the following day – Kwame high on sweet stuff but even higher on music, interacting with professional musicians and having validation from them of his musical and dancing talent even to the suggestion that he take up the drums. Seriously?
When was the last time you thought it was worth living where you do?