Skip to main content

Shuggie Otis Jazz Cafe Review, London


A musical genius takes tentative steps back into the spotlight 

Descending onto the Jazz Café stage from the steep stairway above, tall, slender and well groomed, in a black velvet coat, black pants and high boots, Shuggie Otis exudes superstar charisma.  However, when he strikes the first chords on his blood red guitar and nothing comes out of his amp, nervousness washes over him.  His raspberry coloured shades come off.  ‘Soundman, can I have some help please? I can’t work this thing’.  He apologises for the delay.   ‘Take your time, Otis, we love you’ a voice in the crowd reassures, applause backs her up.   It takes a few minutes for the soundman to bring the amp back to life.  When Otis and the band then explode into ‘Inspiration Information’ it is to the relief of everyone.

Buy from Amazon here
Minor mishaps and musical mastery are tonight’s themes.  There are gorgeous renditions of ‘Aht Uh Mi Hed’ and ‘Island Letter’ amongst others.  In particular, drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith and keyboardist Nick Smith show why they are in such high demand.  Otis himself is still a virtuoso, performing timeless songs with magnificent fluidity and beauty.  Yet he grimaces during his solos, shoots nervous glances at the band and he often avoids eye contact with the crowd. 

Midway through he needs a chair.  The band exits the stage and the air of nervousness returns. Three or four minutes later, Nick Smith can hardly watch the chair being lifted over his Kurzweil keyboards.  Otis needs to ‘read these notes, musical notes’.  Sitting by himself to perform these new blues numbers, this feels more like a rehearsal.  Crowd members ask each other if that sustained buzzing is a sound effect or another technical hitch.  
 

The second half runs much smoother.  More new tracks are performed and with the band back on stage Otis plays more confidently.  Many musicians reach a creative nadir such a long time after their debut, yet these new tracks are muscular, sensual and memorable.  The old classics ‘Ice Cold Day Dream’ and ‘Strawberry Letter 23’ have the crowd in raptures.  Whilst Otis plays the latter’s swift, complex chords admirably, his facial expression suggests he wonders why he choose to make them so difficult to replay. 
 

On record Otis comes across as an enigmatic genius.  Tonight he is an endearing paradox.  He has superstar charisma alongside crippling awkwardness.  His music is lovely yet he appears in pain when performing it.  He’s the musical master who can’t work his amp. 

Take your time, Otis, we love you.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

#NewMusicMonday #MondayMotivation #MixcloudMonday TNB Raps and Beats 01

A mix of hip hop, house, electronica and more

Featuring hip hop superstars including Jeezy, J Cole and Kendrick Lamar to Black Milk; long time The New Beatmaker alumni  K15, Walkingshoe, Evil Alex and Cor Stidak; to newer additions to the TNB Family including Ashes and Dreams and Optic.


Full Tracklist:


1'Smells Like Fun' by Lee TNB AKA Monkey Mind2'Soul Food' by Fabolous & Jadakiss3'Power' by Rapsody feat. Kendrick Lamar and Lance Skiiiwalker4'American Dream' by Jeezy feat. J. Cole & Kendrick Lamar5'Venetian Humidors' by CORSAIR RADIO (Cor Stidak & RaSun the SolBruddha)6

Hardware News:Touch Innovations wows with stunning see-through, all-glass, multi-touch control display exuding ‘XG’ factor

MIAMI, FL, USA: physical hardware touch technology and cutting-edge software specialist Touch Innovations is proud to announce availability of XG — a stunning see-through, all-glass design demonstrating its most luxurious touch screen system yet — as of January 3…




Wowing wherever with a seamless bezel-free design, an all-glass body, and a 39-inch see-through PCAP (Projective Capacitive) touch display supporting 10 simultaneous touch points, XG is quite unlike anything anyone has ever seen (or touched), truly exuding that special ’XG’ factor! For this unique combination of function and finesse makes it a perfect fit for impressing clients and audiences alike in almost any fixed location scenario, performance-based or otherwise — on stage, including high-end clubs’ DJ booths, and elsewhere, from hotel lobbies to mall kiosks and museums to showrooms, with much in-between and beyond, such as gaming events and even upmarket restaurants. Realigning performance and infotainment control possib…

The New Beatmaker is Working Towards GDPR Compliance

The New Beatmaker is Working Towards GDPR Compliance

Dear all, whilst The New Beatmaker works towards complying fully with the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which comes into effect 25 May 2018, a 'bare-bones' version of the website will be online.

A 'fully-fledged' The New Beatmaker will be online in the coming weeks.