Those of us here in Colombo who dig jazz, blues and rock ‘n roll will no doubt know who we are referring to, for Glen has been a major force in the local music scene over the past couple of years. Unfortunately for us he had to return to Oz with his family towards the end of last year, so when news of his return reached us, the next concert was eagerly anticipated – not just for the performance, but also for the kind of spark it generates at the venue – the incomparable Barefoot Garden Café.

The place was buzzing when Nahorp, the lovely Gowers and I got there – the Dancer had a couple of other commitments, one being to meet the members of the Erik Truffaz Quartet – the French jazz group – at the French Ambassador’s residence. I cried off that one, as I would be up in the hills when the concert happens for one thing and the function we were supposed to attend before the French Ambassador’s party is one of the most boring and tediously dull affairs that we are obliged to attend each year. Anyway, the first set was already underway when we arrived, so we quickly got our beverages together with the other stuff, and settled in to get into the music. And so it went – the music, interspersed with meeting up with friends, (which included the pleasant surprise meeting up with Mala, who until then was just a ‘voice’ from cyberspace) getting into the mood to set off the rest of the night and generally having the good old time we usually do at these gigs.

Heeey maan, yo know what blew me away most of all at Glen’s gig? Dat lil girl wit dat big voice, dat easy manner an assured stage presence – Natalia. Woweee-zowee! She did dose tree numbers an she steal dat audience – had dem in da palm of her lil old hand – right?

Right! Natalia is the daughter of The Southpaw and Sweet Sam – all of thirteen years old, with, as Java astutely observed, the assured stage presence of an old pro. But what was most impressive was her voice, style and control, which could have taught many professionals more than a thing or two about performing. In short, she stole the show and the audience loved it.

Know what maan? When I be aksing Soutpaw bout if she be learin dis stuff an how she practices an if she tells dat band da key she be singin in an all dat kinda stuff, know what he tell me? He say he don know, dat all she do is listen to his ol collection of jazz standards an she jus do her thang. Can yo dig dat sheet?

The other highlight of the concert was the surprise appearance of the very group that I had missed out on meeting! The Eric Truffaz Quartet did a guest spot and they were outstanding. Ray Gomez joined them on electric guitar for a couple of numbers, as did Nesan on his variety of drums and percussion and the place rocked!

Getting back to Glen and his band – Kumar, dazzling on keyboards, Upula on bass – getting some of those tabla rhythms booming off those strings, Shiraz playing a mean set on his drums – as sensitively as ever, Nesan conjuring up his percussive brilliance and The Man himself, doing his thing in his inimitable style. Glen did his number and gave everyone another evening of good music and the chance to get into it – and that we did, in no small measure!

The night ended at ‘Blues’ – packed, with a lot of the folk from the concert as well and when Nahorp (Gowers had left earlier), Estev, Mr. Zippy, Cici and I finally made it back home it was dawning. And not too long after that Java and I were on our way back to the hills – a most welcome respite from the heavy activities of the past two weeks!

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