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March 28, 1985 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1985-03-28

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, March 28, 1985 --Page '7

'Ekaya' simmers in style

By Marc Taras
bdullah Ibrahim of Capetown,
South Africa is truly a man of ac-
tion and reflection. He embraces
creation and contemplation with an
equal mind. And heart. When he took to
the stage last Friday night at the Eclip-
se presentation at Lydia Men-
delssohn Theatre he told the audience,
"We have come to take you home." Ab-
dullah Ibrahim and his all-star ensem-
ble Ekaya (which means 'home' in
several African languages) delivered
on this promise. They took us home in
our hearts. Together we shared the
possibilities. of a new old home. And
what a joy it was. And in the midst of
such sorrow, in the face of such math
ness as is upon us now, the joy was
known even more deeply.
Ekaya only begins with the brilliant
piano stylings of Abdullah Ibrahim. The
foundation of this home is broad indeed.
As broad as the honeyed baritone
saxophonics of former Sun Ra associate
Charles Davis (a warm, friendly, bear-
ded bear of a man). Dick Griffin
provides a measure of concrete with his
bountiful trombone offerings (drawing
upon his experience with Rahsaan
Roland Kirk). Carlos Ward, a longtime
Ibrahim sidekick and Carla Bley
protege, constructed walls, rooms, and
forms with heavenly flute and angular
alto sax work. Ricky Ford, who was on

fire all night, honed his chops with
Charles Mingus, and spent most of
Friday night raising the roof. The mor-
tar and caulking were provided by
Buster Williams (formerly with Herbie
Hancock) on bass, and Ben Riley (who
played with Thelonious Monk) on the
drums. These two insulated our home
and kept us warm all night. Acting,
together these gentle folk made us com-
fortable and offered us a brief shelter
from the storm without.
Ann Arbor like Johannesburg.
That's what Gil Scott-Heron
recalled a couple of weeks ago. I
remembered this as Ekaya offered
their opening piece. It was called
"Mountain of the Night." It was so
slow. And sad. Yet there was a certain-
ty that didn't need to be spoken. A
resolve. It was like a dirge; a funeral
march for the brave fallen. There is no
mistake. This is a man who has been an
activist through his music for decades.
His opposition to apartheid is carried
round the world in his music, his titles,
his way of life. The headlines in the Ann
Arbor News the day before came to me
in shades of grim irony. 17 Dead in
South Africa. School Desegregation
Delayed in Ann Arbor. It's the same
old same old. Ann Arbor like Johan-
nesburg. Wake up angels! Wake up
Next Ekaya lightened the mood and
took us to "Capetown." This band
really simmers! The horns sound like.

wild animals in the brush. Ward's flute
creates a delicate chiaroscuro with
Davis' luscious baritone fruits.
The second set opened with "Sotho
Bhe" from the Ekaya LP. A lovely
horn theme yields to the ever beautiful
Charles Davis who goes straight to the
basement on this one. I mean this guy is
exploring the netherworld. Myth-
making in action! Ben Riley's mystery
chatter reveals ancient secrets. Angelic
horn choir with Ricky Ford as Gabriel
(No doubt. This kid is going to heaven! I
think Duke wants him to sit in between
Johnny Hodges and Ben Webster.).
Therc was a beautiful tribute to John
Coltrane that was riveting. Carlos
Ward ranging from beauty flute to
animal squonk sax with Tranish
delight. More deep respect. For South
African freedom fighter Nelson Man-
dela there was the beautiful "Blues For
A Hip King." This piece was dedicated
"to all those who dare to make this a
better place for us." Ekaya dares.
Their truly unprecedented encore
demonstrated how well the band was
received Friday night. Abdullah
Ibrahim and Ekaya left us with
beautiful memories and much to think
about. And for a short space in time
they took us home. They brought us in
and kept us safe and sound. And oh the
sound. It is the sound of life.

A schedelic Tool and Die Daily Photo by DOUG McMAHON
Local Psychedelic/electro/dance folk band Tool and Die will debut with their new lineup Thursday night at the Nec-
tariner Ballroom. Pictured above (somewhat) from left to right, are members Phil Seiden, Stefean Keydel, and John
Handelsman, who will be joined by new drummer Sam Lapides. The performance begins at roughly 10 p.m.

DSO performs the 'three B


By Neil Galanter
I ALMOST did not get to hear them.
I First I tried going to the Detroit
Symphony's Saturday night subscrip-
tion series at Ford Auditorium.
Emanuel Ax was the guest soloist, but it
was sold out. But there was still hope,
the DSO was playing the exact same
program Sunday night at Pease
Auditorium on the campus of Eastern
Michigan University in Ypsilanti.
Great! I called and I got tickets.
Everything 'is fine, right? Nope. My
car broke down; no mechanics around
on a Sunday. It seemed like I just
wasn't destined for the DSO and Ax...
However my friend's little silver,
somewhat rusted AMC Pacer came
through for me, and off I trudged
merrily to Ypsi to hear music of the 3
"B's": Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.
The last half of the program was a
healthful, tactful and polished perfor-
mance of the Brahms Symphony No. 4
in E Minor. Even though this is Brah-
ms, there is a small reference to J.S.
Bach, whose birthday we are so faith-

tully celebrating this year. The bass
line of the chaconne in the last
movement was lifted from a Cantata of
Bach's, almost note for note, except for
a few alterations. Brahms was paying
homage to Bach, just as we are now.
. The bass line really isn't enough to
celebrate old J.S.'s B-day, which was
Thursday, so the evening opened up
with a Bach Orchestral Suite, namely
the first one in C 'Major. Gunther Her-
big, the orchestra's music director and
conductor led a 'rich flavorful perfor-
mance of the suite, which was truly
authentic, and Bach in the purest sense
of terms.
Ensemble playing was consistently in
tip-top shape as were the many smaller
group playing areas. There was an
especially delicious string trio in The
Menuet of the suite, which featured the
principals of each the violin, viola and
cello sections. As usual, concertmaster
Gordon Staples and cellist Italo Babini
came through with their richly effec-
tive playing.
Before intermission, the Polish-born

pianist Emanual Ax was soloist in
Beethoven's Second Piano Concerto.
Ax's performance of the concerto
however was much more romantic than
classical in quality. He gave crisp and
brightly moving musical lines to every
moment in the piece and his inter-
pretation of the cadenza in the first
movement was one of the most original
and noteworthy ones I've encountered.
Ax created a wealth of tonal and
pedal effects which were to say the
least sensational, and thus he affirmed
the fact that he is one of the brightest
musical pianists on today's concert
with a
Liberty off State ....... ...... 668-9329
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