Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ottmar Liebert at Tower, Berry-Picking?

It's Mrs Elliott's birthday this week. Having a fondness for Ottmar Liebert's albums of the '90s, the birthday girl wanted to see him perform. So we went, we saw. I dozed.

Not the man's fault -- he's a talented guitarist -- but he is, in my humble opinion, let down by his accompanists, the lifeless Luna Negra.

Luna Negra 20-year veteran bassist Joe Gagan is an accomplished musician with good technical chops, but aside from providing the occasional lightweight bass solo and a few new-agey spacey keyboard chords during song intros and outros, he didn't do much that could not be described simply as pleasant.

The drummer was the real anchor of the group. And I'm not using the word "anchor" to mean that he provided a solid foundation, I'm using it in a more literal sense: a dead weight. I didn't catch his name, the man might be new, but he dragged the music down with his unimaginative, dull dull dull slogging on the drums. The drumkit sounded heavy and out of place with the faster, more aggressive guitar playing, and sucked the energy out of many of the tunes. I found myself actually growing angry at his lackluster drumming.

When you take the grit and sinew out of flamenco, let the fire in the boiler die, tie what's left to a stone and toss it into a lake, it takes a better musician than Leibert to keep the musical ship afloat.

It went under midway through the first set for Jack.

But they did close with Mrs Elliott's favorite Liebert tune. I leaned over, "I asked them to play it for your birthday." "Shut up," she replied fondly.

Berry Picking Season? Last year we drove to the valley to pick berries, but came late in the season for blueberries. Even so, while I sat in the car with a cast on my foot, Mrs Elliott had fun picking. This year we want to go earlier, and Mrs Elliott has her hopes on scoring boysenberries or marionberries* or whatever kind of "seed bomb"** berries she can score. Problem is, we don't know where to go and when is best. Jack's a pretty good Google pilot but can't find any clear answers.

Can anyone help?

Marion Berry
* No, not that Marion Berry.

** Raspberries, blackberries, whatever -- they all leave massive seed shrapnel between Jack's teeth.


  1. What is Mrs. Elliott's favorite Ottmar Liebert tune?

  2. That would be Barcelona Nights Hr. Schwartzhund.

  3. Hi Jack,

    I found your post to Ottmar very interesting and I agree, I really loved Ottmar live seeing him many years ago in Vancouver opening for Natalie Cole. The band and the music was absolutely fantastic. However I've seen him many times since then as a headliner and it's never been the same. Even with the bigger band, horn section, etc... It just didn't move me as it did back then. It's too bad as I think he's so extremely talented and he's been a massive inspiration to my own music.

    Thank you for your post,
    John G.

    John Gilliat -
    Ottmar with a Twist, Passionate and Fiery Rumba Flamenco Guitar


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