Flamboyancy

It's dim- very dim. Yet the sound coming from the four well-dressed musicians in the corner is anything but dim. The quartet in the corner, led by the international keyboardist Madoca (pronounced ma-du-kah), is cruising through another tune. The working title of the group is Madoca and Company, due to the fact Madoca performs with as few as one other artist and as many as five. It is Saturday, December the 1st, 2007, the location is Londzell's Jazz and Blues Café, and I have been enjoying the show from 8:30 onwards. Tonight, a drummer, saxophonist and left-handed electric bass player are performing a few songs composed by the leader herself in a fairly standard theme, variation and improvisation manner.
The first lick began and revealed itself to be cool and relaxed. As with all the others which followed, exists in standard 4/4 time and begins a global statement of the theme. The real music begins as the individual artists venture off into their separate ideas in improvisational form. The man closest to me begins the night, and this song on Alto Saxophone. His improvised melodies are complex and lengthy, borrowing from the ideas of the highly influential John Coltrane. I was unable to catch his name, but he was young and very passionate about his music. His range and technique were both very impressive, not to mention evident on Alto, Tenor and Soprano saxophones, all of which he played throughout the night. The energy he put into his music was replaced by free drinks from the bar, and he constantly patted his forehead with his trusty blue hand towel. If I were to venture a guess, I would believe that he was of college age, and definitely a music student at one of the local Universities such as Georgia State.
The drummer was stationed in the back left corner or the group. He relaxed, put on his "cool drummer face," and kept time with the bassist during the other's times to solo. However, he proved to be the most interesting of the bunch when it came his time to shine. With so much as a nod from Madoca, he proceeds through his settled routine. Then, he begins to insert hiccups into his part. A hi-hat bash here, an extra bass drum tap there, all in time but also in a seemingly random manner. He then reels off on a wild tangent, incorporating all of his taps and slaps into an odd beat. As I try to figure out where he is going, a Bob Marley tune pops into my mind. The drummer has now transformed into a reggae-eqsue beat in the middle of a jazz tune. But, this is only for a few seconds. It as if he has touched the forbidden fruit, and he slides back into the standard beat. As an artist, he did a good job of implementing something interesting into his improvisation. Sadly, as with the saxophone player, I never learned his identity and haven't been able to track him down.
The electric bassist, known as The Prince Project, also served as sound mixer for the night. Stationed net to the board, he'd constantly tweak various knobs and levels in an attempt to create a better sound for the group. Sadly, his own audio was coming through a bit muddily, and made it difficult for him to be heard clearly. He did manage to lay down chord progressions and improvise nicely. He, as Will Ferrell in Anchorman requested, "Took the Bass-line for a walk." His style was fairly generic and not to technical. He was playing on a five-string bass, which allows one to go higher while improvising or plucking. But, he possessed an added perk- song. The Prince Project sang solely wordless vocals; scat singing. His improvisations as a singer were slightly more inspired than his on electric bass, but they were nothing to write home about. He didn't appear to really be into the music or even want to be there at all. Next to him was the ringleader, Madoca herself.
Madoca began studying piano and organ in Japan at the age of seven. She grew up very involved in her local music programs and graduated from high school with a degree in music and composition. In 1982 she won a scholarship to the Nemu Music School in Tokyo, courtesy of Yamaha. There she learned further about jazz piano, ensemble and theory. After her collegiate days, she began to tour throughout Asia, Europe and eventually traveled to the United States for the first time in 1997. She met The Prince Project while touring in Honk Kong in 1998 when he was on tour himself. From then on, they always performed together. She moved to Atlanta in 2003, but has still been performing internationally. "Music is my life" Madoca says. On stage, she reminds me of a mother figure, specifically my own. Yes, I understand that at this point one may be a bit baffled. I am not referring to her appearance, I am thinking of how she seems to try and propel the other musicians with her to do better, try and place them before her. Her music was very clean, but often repetitive. She would restate the theme many times throughout her improvisational period in both chords and octaves. When she decided not to do this, her sections were nice, and she showed her spectrum of talent by being able to play anything from fusion to funk.
Madoca and Company is a decent group to go see. They aren't always the same people, so one is always in for a surprise. The ideas and melodies presented by them don't shatter molds, but they do shift them. So, next time they are playing, feel free to stop by and hear some good, not great, jazz.http://www.oppapers.com/essays/Flamboyancy/127484

Flamboyancy 9.3 of 10 on the basis of 3464 Review.