Sunday, 24 March 2013

Two Original Tracks from Saxophonist Dotun Bankole

Tenor Saxophonist Dotun “Dotsax” Bankole dropped by my house the other night for a jam. He plays a 156k silver plate Mark VI which is about a year younger than the horn I've been playing lately, a 148k Mark VI that is basically bare brass, having been stripped of its silver plate a long time ago. The horns are brothers from the late 60's, although his has a high F# key and mine doesn't  Dotun really liked the resonance of my horn and we traded instruments for the evening. He is playing on a Jody Jazz metal mouthpiece which was given to him by the manufacturer while on tour in the States a couple of months ago with Femi Kuti.

Dotun was bemoaning the scarcity of jazz in present-day Lagos. There is not a single venue in this city of 17 million that features live jazz every day. I thought maybe it was just me because I have played out less this past year than in any year in recent memory, although I have been working in a city which is lauded in some media circles as one of the really happening places in the third world. Not really happening for jazz since there is practically no place to jam, even for excellent local players, and not much happening even for home-grown styles like afrobeat although the music press refers to afrobeat as being really popular worldwide – I've previously written about that paradox.

In any event, Dotun continues to improvise and create on his saxophone. Recently he has been working on two original tracks in the studio: Irawo Owuro and Aja Nti Ele, where he plays soprano sax rather than his more usual tenor. You can listen to these two works-in-progress here and look for and buy the CD when it is released. Click on the track names to download and listen. Meanwhile, you can catch Dotsax playing tenor behind Femi Kuti at the New Africa Shrine in Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday and Sunday evenings.

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