So, I’m a little bit early. I’m in a barely converted warehouse called The Edge behind the Brum coach station in Cheapside. It’s a bit rough round the edges like a larger than life student house from the 1980’s. There’s a stage at one end of the room with a FUNKENTELEKY banner and a back line. The Ben Lee Quintet and the headline poets are huddled around eating chips on a horseshoe of sofas – it’s all very avant garde. Just the right setting then for an evening fusing improvised jazz and spoken word……
By the time the audience arrive fashionably late, the atmosphere is akin to smoky back-room dives in New York or London in the 60’s and so it begins. Jack Crowe and David Ferris have crafted a masterpiece of collaborative art in this experimental coming together of jazz and poetry. After a brief open mic – not really needed to be honest – the fun begins.
First up is Aliyah Hasinah, with no holds barred poetry accompanied by ambient jazz. It’s a brilliant combination of passive / aggressive and sets the scene perfectly for Sean Colletti to breeze onto the stage. His American accent blends into the more assertive free-based jazz that accompanies his set – humour and style combine effortlessly.
A short break and then Jack and Leon deliver the crowd sourced poem of love, confusion and Funkenteleky over broken beat jazz.
Then it’s Jasmine Gardosi, a set that blended both performance elements to absolute precision, the poet and band in total sync right through to a brilliant conclusion with her final poem. This was the stand out set for me….
But not to diminish the final act, Ben Jackson in anyway what so ever. Ben brought a firebrand, raucous delivery that was echoed by the band in free-flow and at full volume.
I expect Beatnik poets were turning in their graves that they were not here to witness this Brummie mashup. This was a demonstration of both musicians and poets at the absolute top of their game feeding off each other to give us an auditory performance that was out of the very top drawer.
A great concept perfectly put together and brilliantly executed by every single performer on the stage. More please Jack and David.
If this comes around again, cancel whatever you have planned to get there. I guarantee you will not regret it…….