Last Tuesday night I went to see Awadagin Pratt perform.
Now I really don't know too much about classical music, I'm strictly hip-hop, soca and reggae with a little Sarah Vaughn, Coltrane and Miles thrown in the mix but I really enjoyed this guy's concert even if the Star's reviewer said that he was overwhelming and too attacking in his approach. Like whatever dude! I bet you cant even string two notes together. chupse! Full a big speech criticizing big man and aint got no skillz.
Classical music isn't my thing though. I mean I don't know a waltz from a jig, the only concerto I know is Buccaneer's Skettel Concerto (and Brand Nubians Concerto in X minor) and the only symphony I familiar with is Part 1 and 2 by the Juice Crew; "Listen closely, so your attention's undivided. Many in the past have tried to do what I did. Just the way I came off, man I'm gonna come off. Stronger and longer, even with the drum off." In fact most of my classic music moments are associated with Bugs Bunny cartoons or when I'm at Kennedy or Bathurst station and they piping it into the subway but I still felt this concert.
Actually I went mainly because I was showing some support for the guys that brought him; Proteus World Music. Good people!
In essence this was my first concert where they didn't frisk you at the door. :-) Ok I'm exaggerating but this was my first classical concert with a real professional classical musician. I've been to a couple of amateur concerts when family members were playing with a little orchestra but it was free and I only went so they wouldn't confuse me night and day about supporting them. Plus I went in the back and fall sleep hard hard but don't tell nobody. I mean really how dey expect muh ta stay awake when the music aint even got no words? Ah mean is it too much to ask for even a "throw your hands in the air" a few "lawd a mercy!" or somebody in the background shouting out "come wid it!" every now and then. Unless hmm maybe they wanted me to break into a little freestyle over some Brahms or Beethoven; "check it check it uuh check it yo yo yo! when I compose this verse like Beethoven with the fifth, I give praise to the lord for giving me this gift , now I might drink a fifth on that I plead the fifth, mcs who wanted to battle come fourth then left fifth......"
Anyway enough foolish talk. Awadagin played Liszts sonata in B minor and Beethoven's Emperor concerto. Don't ask me to hum or repeat it fa ya doah. He played it with more energy and expression that I would have expected from a classical performer (which is probably why the reviewer felt he was overwhelming). Dude was really feeling the vibe. I mean at some points he almost had classical music sounding rhythmic.
I personally liked how the man played. Awadagin brought energy to the stage and rhythm to the piano. I'm giving him props. Now if only he would do a collabo with Buju or Ghostface Killer I would be he biggest fan. :-)