REVIEW: Weekend at… Symphony Hall Café Bar / Llama, Jan 19th & Chris Bowden Quartet, Jan 20th

Jan 19th: Llama

Words by Ceri Black

Combining the beautiful voice of, an undeniably sexy, Sylvia Perez Cruz, and Ravid Goldschmidt’s haunting tones of his hang drum, Llama created an hypnotic atmosphere. The venue itself provided an alluring contrast; the dark, wet and windy streets through high windows echoed against the bright and upbeat flamenco sounds of the Spanish duo.

However, the acoustics in the Symphony Hall Café Bar did not work in Llama’s favour, and occasionally it was difficult to hear Goldschmidt’s drumming (especially when someone in the audience started eating crisps).

Altogether though, Llama delivered a gorgeous set. Captivating the audience with delicate rhythms and mesmerizing vocals. I have no doubt they will continue to wow fans throughout Europe.


Jan 20th: Chris Bowden Quartet

Words by Robert Kornreich

Great gig: a fine local quartet that seems to do 1950s cool jazz through to Charlie Parker-type bebop. “Seems”? Well, I’ve been out of the jazz/ blues scene for a few years. But this – with the Steve Ajao Blues band at this venue a few weeks ago – is bringing me back.

Chris Bowden (building lyrical and melodic excitement  – and abrupt silences and hesitations like Thelonious Monk) on alto sax, the wonderful Steve Tromans on piano, Tom Hill on bass and Neil Bullock drums (sorry: I’m in a minority that doesn’t get drummers).

Music to watch.