King Bolden’s often has a pretty eclectic mix of patrons. Last night that eclectic mix included French Quarter regulars who had been there watching big screen NFL playoffs all day, and the hard core New Orleans free jazz fans, who were there to hear Han Bennink.
The performance was scheduled to start at 8 PM. I got there right at 8, hoping I hadn’t missed the start. Han was sitting behind his drums, and the Colts/Pats game was being projected on the wall. It was the beginning of the fourth quarter and I was told that the concert wouldn’t start until the game was over. That was the bad news.
The good news was that the volume from the TV was off, and there was a Lee Morgan record playing. Han just sat and played along with Lee, et al. for much of the next hour. That was an interesting insight.
The concert started about 9. The small room was pretty crowded. The enthusiastic music fans had crowded around the drumset which sat in the middle of the floor. Only the 10 or 12 people closest to Bennink could really see him, but the sound was pretty good throughout the room. He played about a 45 minute set of solo drumset. It was all based in steady pulse, if not overtly grooving. The performance was engaging and not overly serious. The whistle/sing along of “Whistle While You Work” was fun. He also told the talking frog/drummer joke.
King Bolden’s is on North Rampart Street. If you look out of the window of the club, you see Congo Square, the historical significance of which was not lost on Bennink.
The second half of the concert was a duo with Bennink and Kidd Jordan. Due to uncontrollable family obligations, I only heard the first few minutes of this, and it seemed like it was going to be pretty happening.