|But this evening was a bit of a party, too, when Dawkins on alto led audience members in an impromptu conga line for Adele, a lady in the audience who was celebrating her birthday. Dawkins sang "Happy Birthday" in his informal, inimitable fashion. The bass player shook a rattle. Cake was served. We all had fun.
"Tribute to Malachi Favors" combined a descending bass line like in "Hit the Road Jack" by Ray Charles and a melody like the first 4 bars of "Alfie" by Sonny Rollins. The multiple voices of Rollins, Coltrane, and Dexter Gordon spoke out in the tenor. In an extended free blowing section, then a vigorous tenor/drums duet, Ernest Dawkins further demonstrated a sweeping mastery of instrument and improvisation. The enthusiastic Spencer sticks all the way capped it off with a stiff smash of hi-hat, snare, and ride cymbal.
"Baghdad Boogie" brought us back full circle. Politics. The hurt put upon African-American communities. And during a rap about Donald Rumsfeld's Haliburton Corporation, and how it was relocating to Dubai "bye-bye" intoned Dawkins two Toronto guests sat in, Harvey Cowan on violin and Jaruba on flute. Eventually surrounded by whistles and duck calls, they made way for pummelling drums, groaning bass, and a high flying, searing alto. And when everyone came back to earth, Dawkins soliloquized and played, "You Don't Know What Love Is".