Lonnie Liston Smith, Jazz Café, London
Monday 17 April 2006
Twenty-five years later, the fusion of the 1970s provided significant inspiration for the acid jazz movement, and not for nothing did Guru call Liston Smith to participate in 1993's groundbreaking mix of jazz and rap, Jazzmataz Vol 1, along with Donald Byrd and Roy Ayers. So it's fair to say that Liston Smith has earned his little marker in jazz history.
On the basis of this performance at the Jazz Café, however, whatever credibility that marker gives him is wearing exceedingly thin.
His first number, "Mardi Gras", was a sparkly samba which he led from the club's grand piano. It was a reasonable opener, the competent drummer and energetic percussionist locking in nicely over the boomy efforts of a six-string bassist, while Liston Smith splashed chords.
The second number indicated that the jazz content was not going to reach any greater heights, as the leader switched to a double deck of Roland keyboards to lay down the intro to what turned into the first of several cheesy soul ballads. There was still some remnant of tasteful instrumentation. The bassist provided undulations to the groove with rising and falling slides, and a few sharp cracks from the drum kit gave some structure to the percussionist's mushy vocals.
Time, I thought, for Liston Smith to pull one out of the bag and show why he was once talked about as the man who could link John Coltrane and Earth, Wind and Fire. No such luck. Liston Smith moved from noodlesome numbers on the grand piano to 1980s-style, muscle-laden funk of supreme banality.
There may, just, have been a place for this kind of music at one point. Now, I'm afraid, it belongs on the pile marked "reduced to clear".
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Woman 'suffocates newborn baby in plastic bag and puts it in her desk minutes after giving birth'
- 2 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 4 Teaching profession headed for crisis as numbers continue to drop and working lives become 'unbearable'
- 5 Chinese student carries disabled friend to school every day for three years
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove