Produced and Directed by Ruby Webb and Archie Alleyne, Such a Melodious Racket was staged as part of a fundraiser for the St. Christopher House Music School and the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. The show was dedicated to the memory of Toronto saxophonist Dougie Richardson (1937 2007).
Before the concert got under way, Archie Alleyne introduced Norman Botos to the audience. Norman is this years recipient of the Archie Alleyne Scholarship Fund. A student at the Humber College junior music program, Norman is studying percussion with a focus on the drums. In the audience were his father (drummer Frank Botos) and uncle (pianist Robi Botos) as well as other members of his family.
This production of Such a Melodious Racket featured the talent of over 90 performers, artists such as: Jackie Richardson, Billy Newton-Davis, Saidah Baba Talibah, Kamil Dewhurst, John Arpin and Hameed Pan Piper Shaqq. Several dance groups took the stage: Nexx Level, Ngoma and Funk Factory. Featured as well were The E. O. J. Youth Ensemble who also provided the musical accompaniment for the evening. Archie Alleynes Kollage made a cameo appearance.
Such a Melodious Racket is a celebration of jazz and its related musical idioms. Over the course of the two one-hour sets, we were transported from the African drum/dance roots to the cosmopolitan ebullience of bebop. Stops were made along the way visiting calypso, spirituals, blues, ragtime, classic jazz and swing. The pace was lively. Music and dance were artfully integrated.
All the performers gathered on the stage to participate in the shows grand finale. Aglow and reluctant to accept the inevitable final drop of the curtain the audience showered the assembled performers with warm and sustained applause.