The next piece is the hypnotic Love Me Baby written by Dave Sereny which uses a synthesized bass along with lots of work from Mike and Wade on keyboards. A dance mix kind of piece, it is free from the synthesized beats often associated with the genre. So nice to have a living breathing drummer giving colour and personality to the rhythm.
The set is rounded out with two love songs. The first one features some interesting rhythm changes and some nice back-up vocals from Wade. The last one starts: My sunshine/ You make me smile from my head to my toes/ Everybody knows what you mean to me/ You are the reason I wake up each morning/ Cant wait to see the look in your eyes when you start your day I notice something of the quality of Delihlas voice in a flute solo that follows. Nice.
The second set starts with another classic, again an instrumental piece. Monks beautiful Round Midnight is given voice here by a poignant tenor saxophone ending on a high noteever-yearning.
Delihla again takes the stage, this time with what is now known as the Gypsy national anthem, Djelem, Djelem. The melody of this piece is thought to have originated in Romania. It was popular in Paris in the 20s and 30s and very popular as well among Serbian Gypsies in the 70s. It seems there are variants of it all over Europe. At the first World Romani Congress in 1971 a sort of standard version of it was voted on by representatives from over 20 countries and thus adopted as the national anthem of the Roma.
Delihla sings it beautifully, in Romani, with a rather haunting intro, weaving through various tempos and rhythms. It sounds Eastern European and Middle Eastern at the same time, gypsy scale-based and microtonal. Then, at one point I even feel some Samba (why not? some say the Roma deported from Portugal had an influence on the evolution of Samba in Brazil) and there are a few moments of clave effect from Mike on keyboard. The piece is bittersweet, sad and joyous. The many feelings of a people mingling together. The lyrics speak of the travelling life and of death at the hands of the Nazis but also speak out proudly, Now is the timestand up, Roma, We shall succeed where we make the effort.
After a few more enjoyable, fusiontype pieces from Delihla, the night ends with Freedom a light, happy, and funky tune with the sax filling in horn shots, R&B/soul style. Leading with the keyboard, Mike turns it sharply around and the piece blows out in instrumental glory. No fade-out here, a soaring guitar with a sharply finished end.
Look for the release of Delihlas first CD, A Sweeter Life in May 2005. The gypsy/fusion tracks should be especially interesting. In the meantime, she does sing on The Jazz Rooms Vocal Jazz, Smooth Jazz and Classic Jazz CDs.
This was the second-last in a series of shows presented by the record label Groove United Productions at the Richmond Lounge, 342 Richmond St. W. (corner of Peter and Richmond, above Fez Batik). The last show of the series will be Thursday, March 17th. Forget the green beer and hang out here.