Elegant, Stellar and Magical

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Jazz Night at The Eliott Hotel

It is the legendary Billy Crystal who has said before; “That’s the thing about jazz: it’s free flowing, it comes from your soul.” That quote resonated with me as I sat down at the Veranda Bar on Jazz Night at The Eliott Hotel a few weeks ago. Jazz is a beautiful genre and if you get it, you will end up admiring it for the simplicities. My jazz knowledge is not as vast admittedly, I know who the greats of the genre are, the many genres within jazz but it is my father as well as my uncle who love the genre endlessly and with them as reference points, they helped me understand their love for and why it is such a happy genre.

Whenever I set my mind to do something, be it house chores or just need a “pick me up” I always turn to jazz. Be it Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, Glenn Miller, or any of the greats. There is also a lot of unearthed jazz but not that is not what I am going to write about today. Jazz on the Rock is loved, admired and full of collaborations. We of course have our jazz guru living in New York in ElieMassias but there are also names that have been associated with it for an exceptionally long time. One of those people is George Posso. George is the President of the Gibraltar Jazz Society. This resurgence if you will that Jazz has had in the last few weeks is awesome to view from a far but even more awesome to witness it first-hand. George gracefully told me that he is “Happy with the response and that he is enjoying playing with fabulous musicians.”

The George Posso Trio kicked off the night’s festivities and on Piano was Juan Galiardo. Mr Galiardo graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts in 2004. He also previously studied Music Education at the University of Cádiz in 1998. He is a beneficiary of the “Berklee European Scholarship Tour” as well as the Scholarship for the Improvement of Performing and Musical Arts Abroad from the Ministry of Culture of the Junta de Andalucía. At Berklee he was awarded the special prize of the Chair of the Piano Department. Admittedly I had not seen Juan perform in a while and I believe the last time I did was when a band he was a part of (Malfunktion) was opening for Jose Feliciano at the Gibraltar International Jazz Festival in 2016! Time truly does fly. 

His precision, fingering and all-around humble attitude makes you admire him even more. Charlie Rovegno on drums is also a secret weapon if you will. They sounded fantastic throughout and one thing worth noting is that when jazz is played, everyone falls silent and remain in awe throughout. That is what makes jazz so elegant, at least to me. One thing worth noting is that their setlist is all improvised and it is that spontaneity that makes it so fun to watch and enjoy. Since an early age I have always been drawn to the sound of the sax and it truly is a beautiful instrument. Chuck McClelland is a gem, and his presence alone is incredible. The Canadian is formidable when it comes to the genre locally and it is always a joy to see him perform. 

The more music, the merrier the crowd gets and that is always a bonus. For the second part the band usually invite up anyone who wishes to perform a few numbers and it was no different this time. Fellow Berklee graduate in Kian Khalilian was of the first who stepped up. It is always pleasing for the eyes when you see a musician enjoy himself whilst on stage and with Kian that is no different. I absolutely love his style and he is quite the formidable axeman. Also invited up to perform were Elio and David, two young musicians from La Linea on both guitar and drums, respectively. It was quite the spectacle and if they keep at it, they have a bright future ahead.

Also invited up to perform a song with the band were Carmel Khalilian, Victor Francis, Dennis Beltran, and Angela Jenkins. Each bring their own flavour of course and when you blend them all together, they make one awesome cocktail. It is satisfying to hear the grandeur of Dennis Beltran’s vocals, Victor Francis’ drumming and Angela Jenkins’ West End like prowess. This is more of a personal statement than my experience of what it felt like to hear her sing but Carmel my friend, you must perform more! You were magnificent.

Overall, a stellar night of music and one I really enjoyed covering. Special thanks to the band as well as the Veranda Bar’s management for their grade A service.

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