The Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea
Saturday 7th April, 2018
Mike Flynn’s latin fusion band J-Sonics made a strong impression at last year’s South Coast Jazz Festival and their return to the Ropetackle was filled with the same high-octane energy that characterises this accomplished band.
Beginning their set with Casa Forte, an upbeat samba, they performed an interesting mix of danceable latin classics together with some striking original tunes that fitted in perfectly with their upbeat and energetic style.
The tunes that really stood out were the latin standards such as Berimbau (which featured some stunning guitar work from Clement Regert) and the classic Manha de Carnaval, which illustrated Spanish vocalist Graciela Rodriguez’s ability to sing in different languages. Whilst her command of English is impressive, her strength lies in singing authentically in both Spanish and Portuguese, with the power and intensity required of latin styles. Overall, the band manages to maintain a high energy throughout and perform the tight arrangements with ease, even with last-minute substitute trumpeter, Andy Watts. A funky version of Oscar Pettiford’s Bohemia After Dark worked well and featured special guest saxophonist Julian Nicholas.
The original compositions by guitarist Clement Regert fitted in nicely but the most memorable of all the originals was Sing Your Own Anthem by Mike Flynn. The rhythm section set up a funky, energetic groove that acted as a firm foundation for solos by Flynn, who utilised his array of effect pedals, and also included one of the few quiet moments of the evening with saxophonist Matt Telfer duetting and trading phrases with sensitive percussionist Jon Newey.
For the encore, vocalist Graciela Rodriguez got everyone up dancing and doing a call and response on the classic Jorge Ben tune Mas Que Nada.
Graciela Rodriguez, vocals; Clement Regert, guitar; Matt Telfer, tenor and soprano sax; Andy Watts, trumpet; Mike Flynn, bass guitar; Jon Newey, congas and percussion; Gabor Dornyei, drum kit.
[Photo: Lisa Wormsley.]