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Gig Review: Dee Wood Quartet Plus Cyro Baptista, Mumbai

Sunil Sampat:

Sometimes a memorable concert can be heard in a charming little setting. This jazz event was such a memorable evening of high-quality jazz. New York-based Brazilian percussionist and vocalist Cyro Baptista was briefly in Mumbai and was co-opted by his friend, bassist Dee Wood to an impromptu jazz session at the Bandra Base. The Bombay Jazz Club had put together a quartet with Wood on bass, Karim Ellaboudi on piano/keyboards, Emmanuel Simon on multiple percussion instruments and Aron Nyiro on drums.

Starting out with Cole Porter’s ballad “I Love You” on which Ellaboudi was brilliant, the mood for the session was set with Baptista adding spice and flavor with an array of percussive sounds. It would be churlish to single out any one individual for the brilliance of the 90-minute set; each was in terrific form and it made for a very happy audience in an intimate setting.

For us, the high point of the evening was the rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s, “Corcovado,” also known as “Quiet Nights.” Again, Ellaboudi led off with great subtlety and the percussion-heavy group made a delicious offering. It was all subtlety and class.

It is often said that a Duke Ellington composition will feature in many jazz performances. It was proven true once again when the quintet concluded the evening with the Duke’s, “Caravan.” The percussion from Baptista enhanced all the music for the evening. He is an outstanding musician and it is a pity he didn’t play at more venues for many more jazz fans. Those present are unlikely to forget the magic that was created by this quintet.

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