BWW Review: PORGY AND BESS CONCERT at Hot Jazz Series
Once a month a new jazz concert is presented in various venues around the country for one week as part of the very popular "Hot Jazz" series, produced by Shamayim productions. In this month's event singer Deborah J. Carter and the Mamelo Gaitanopoulos Sextet brought the greatest hits from the jazz opera PORGY AND BESS. Following their week of performances in Jerusalem, Herzliya, Modiin and Tel Aviv, the group reached Haifa with an extraordinary final show.
The Mamelo Gaitanopoulos Sextet opened the show with the song "Gone" from MiLes Davis' Porgy and Bess studio album. This unique instrumental song, written by Gil Evans, brought an unexpected and yet very welcome introduction to the evening.
Following the intro, Deborah J. Carter joined the sextet on stage with "It Ain't Necessarily So", proving from the very first note she sang that the audience is about to witness a one of a kind voice and talent. It is too bad though that the balance of the sound wasn't in Carter's favor during this song as the wind instruments were covering her voice quite a bit.
The following songs performed were "My Man's Gone Now", "A Woman Is a Sometime Thing", "I Loves You, Porgy" and "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin", while in each of them most of the musicians got to show their impressive skills during their long and intricate solos. The most noticeable of them were trombonist Oded Meir and pianist Igor Khodorkovsky who both gave everything they had in them during each and every one of their solos and yet made it look easy and effortless.
While Carter's charming introductions for each song were very interesting and
helpful the audience could've easily understood the story thanks to her incredible way of telling the story through song- a skill that is unfortunately becoming more and more rare these days and is a pleasure to witness in a live performance. This was especially clear during the next songs "Here Come De Honey Man", "There's a Boat That's Leaving Soon for New York" and "Bess, You Is My Woman Now". During the latter song Mamelo played Porgy's part on the Tenor Saxophone which even though it was eminent that this isn't a very common switch for trumpeters to go through it did eventually complement the performance.
As expected, the final song was "Summertime" in yet another one of the show's unique arrangements which presented the best out of all those involved in the concert, including the sound technicians who added many special sound effects at the beginning of the song. The audience members also had a special part in the concert while during the encore, which was a short reprise of "It Ain't Necessarily So", they were asked to join and sing the song's title in Hebrew- yet another thing that Deborah J. Carter did smoothly. On what was a truly cold and wintery week thankfully this show brought summertime to Israel and once again raised the bar in the wonderful Hot Jazz series.