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by Greg Becker / 13.11.2013

Yesterday I had the privilege to see the Klokka (Bruce Muirhead, Andrew Lillee and Heinrich Goosen) perform at The Crypt (in Cape Town, below St Georges Cathedral). This was their first of 3 performances this week. I enjoyed the performance so much that I thought I would write my second music review – the first I wrote was of Glastonbury fourteen years ago, covering Suzanne Vega, David Bowie….

At the performance last night I was blown away. I am writing this, because there were empty seats and there may well be in their next performances. I know this is a music piece, but I am going to begin this review with an anecdote about a painting.

At the Getty Center in Los Angeles, there is a painting by Cezanne. By some standards it is incomplete (the canvas is not entirely filled with colour). While I was enthralled by the image, I overheard a child ask his Dad, “Why is the paining not finished?” I know that it could have been a preparatory painting, or that the artist may have become bored or run out of paint, but for me the explanation was something else.

I replied to the child (and his Dad) “I think what is amazing about this painting is that Cezanne knew when he had done enough and he had the confidence to stop; the courage. The white space doesn’t detract from the painting, but rather helps to focus our attention on the self-portrait he did finish… and that’s the important part where he captured the emotion, the melancholy…”

Cezanne became a painter who was so proficient that he was able to ask the next level of questions, and questioned when to stop, when to break the rules, and explored whether what he was doing was capturing the emotion and transporting his message more swiftly, and when to move on. This is what reminded me of last night: I think I witnessed some virtuosos at play.

If forced to pick three reasons to go to the show, I would say:
1. You will get to watch a trio that has played for many years together, who have amazing understanding and play as one.
2. You will get to see quality original jazz, performed by professional musicians with decades of experience, who lecture music, who have played as session musicians who are at the top of their art and skill, and
3. You will get to hear them break some rules and be a bit experimental – because they have developed to the stage where they can.

The three sets were different. One was inventive and reminded me of modern art, another was full of emotions and funk. Decide for yourself: are these guys like Cezanne and good enough to break the rules and play away from conformity?

Where in the world can you get to watch three quality jazz sets for R55, and be exposed to questions like that? Klokka, The Crypt, St Georges Cathedral, Cape Town, 7pm-10pm, 13 and 14 Nov 2013.


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