Entertainment of 2014-08-15

Ambolley's 'wicked' horn section

They rocked and rocked till the audience could take it no more and started drifting away after midnight last Sunday, August 10 at the +233 Jazz Bar and Grill, North Ridge in Accra.

The act on stage was singer, rapper and saxophonist, Gyedu Blay-Ambolley and his Sekondi band. They covered Afro-beat, highlife, jazz funk and mainstream jazz.

Those in the audience who wanted to hear Ambolley sing a lot and do his dance Simigwa antics were somehow wrong-footed because the man showed himself off on the night more as a saxophone player than anything else.

His playing inspired the three other horn players in the band who all sparkled on their respective instruments.

Colonel Faat (tenor sax), Kuuku Ansong (flugel horn) and Segun (alto sax) executed their solos with precision and sounded clean and tight when they played in unison.

“They have been with me for a long time, so we gel very much,” Ambolley says of his brilliant horn section. “The guys are simply wicked.”

Ghanaian bands, especially the highlife bands of the 1960s and 1970s, put a lot of emphasis on horn sections. That was why groups like Uhuru, Black Beats, Brigade No 1 and Ramblers always hit the listener with a big bang.

The emergence of pop music that stressed guitars, drums and keyboards, which are relatively easier to master, made many potential musicians drift away from the horns.

A reasonable number of young players have started taking to the horns again, and they may take us back to the time when it was possible to hear a good horn player with nearly every band in town.

“I open things up for them to express what they feel inside,” Ambolley says of his horn section. “They are always on fire to deliver and I truly appreciate their dedication to their horns and to music.”

Let’s hear it for all the hard- working new breed of horn exponents who include Bernard Ayisa (saxophone), Joana Denaka (trumpet), Dela Jackson (saxophone), Eli Amewode (trombone) and Emmanuel Tontoh (trumpet).

Source: graphic.com.gh
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