Drizzles characterised Blantyre on Friday, but that was no reason enough for jazz lovers not flock to Blantyre Sports Club (BSC), where the Lilongwe Jazz Session rocked the night.
In fact, the set was sold out, with several patrons saying when the session comes to Blantyre again, they should consider the BSC ground, not the hall.
It was a night of jazz and more jazz. Yes, and the blues as well, with food and drinks setting the mood right.
It was Grecian Mokoena who opened the set, right about 7pm. One thing you could not miss from his do was the piano. Mokoena certainly knows how to tap the black and white keys that bring in the harmony.
That was clear when he performed his own compositions like Mr Okito, Mtendere Mudya and Morning Vide, as well as songs from Jonathan Butler and Chic Corea.
The joy and laughter proceeded to the next level as Spare Fingers went on stage. In spite of hitches when opening the set, the group, which comprised, among others, Wyndham Chechamba and Francis Mijiga, brought in their own mellow tunes.
“Spare Fingers is about doing music as a hobby. We do music when we are not working,” said Mijiga.
As the tempo rose to a crescendo rose, Owen Mbilizi took centre-stage. His was an electric performance. And he took patrons down memory lane with renditions of Malawi classics like Anasiketi not forgetting When the Saints Go Marching.
He closed his set with Skokian, that jazz tune previously done by the Bulawayo Sweet Rhythms Band as well as Hugh Masekela.
Then, things went haywire with Erik Paliani. One could not doubt that when he brought the house down with his guitar efficacy complimented well with bassist Jay Jay Munthali and drummer Lyton Chisuse.
What struck you most was how Erik seemed to be transported into another world as he presented music understood best with the soul not the ear. Strikingly, when his music rose, the patrons spoke in high tones, and when he played it low, they were quiet, too quiet.
From Kumaleule and other songs, Erik Paliani proved he has the mettle. Nonetheless, he did not perform Kwacha Kwayera.
According to Mijiga, the show was a percussor to the Lilongwe Jazz Festival set for August 30 and 31.