Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Ozou’ne performs jazz, contemporary pop at The Alibi Nightclub

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Over the last two years with a starting time of 7:30 p.m., pianist Ozou'ne and his band, PON fYAH, featuring Richardo Campbell on drums and Mfon Udosen on bass, performs Jazz and contemporary popular music every Wednesday night at The Alibi, formally Peppers, at Gore's Business Center Upper Waterloo Road.

Ozou'ne's career in music charts a course from his youthful obsession with the church and school pianos through diverse encounters with Sunday-morning choirs, touring bands, collaborations with Sonny Bradshaw and Sly and Robbie, studio dates with Freddie McGregor and Alton Ellis, to his own ensembles in which he is not restricted to any specific idiom, as it also serves to showcase his unusual and eclectic compositions.

His ongoing residency at the Alibi shows that he can channel standards, jazz, contemporary pop, Latin, reggae and his distinct array of compositions into an absorbing session of music that is at once entertaining, contemplative, humorous and intense - swinging and grooving one moment, meditative the next. In total, the pianist's attention-gripping performances, are occasions to satisfy the appetite of body, soul and mind.

On any given number, he can infer the rational (logic) of Bra Gaynair as effortlessly as he employs the humour of Louise Bennett, and suggests a quote from Cole Porter in the next breath he implies a melody of Bob Marley's. As pianist and bandleader, Ozou'ne interprets Earth Wind and Fire, as effortlessly as he does Ellingtonia, and draws attention to native vernacular as clear as his own substantial songbook.

Ozou'ne has a gift for counterpoint, interjecting thorny riffs, irregular rhythm and use of silence as an effective compositional element. For example, by applying atypical approaches to well-known pop standards such as the Stylistics' soul hit, People Make the World Go Round and Bob Marley's No Woman No Cry, the pianist suggested fresh possibilities by alternatively fragmenting compositional form, introduced new melody lines, utilised unusual imaginative concepts, while exploring fresh rhythmic twists and turns, all held together by an uncommon sense of harmony. Billy Joel's, I Love You Just the Way You Are, was played at a cantor. Reggae riffs infused this classic with just enough flavour to provide an island spiced lilt. Closing with a warm rendering of Nora Jones' Don't Know Why he quoted from Blood Sweat and Tears "Spinning Wheel" before seamlessly reconciling the meandering current of both tunes as naturally as if they were a fusion of streams flowing into a river.

Ozou'ne and PON fYAH, perform at Lee Gore's Business Centre, 31 Upper Waterloo Road (next to Mega Mart), Wednesday Nights at 7:30 p.m. No cover.