ISLAMABAD, June 23: Their swinging tunes melted ice in the drinks at the Rock on Friday night when one of the elite brass bands from New Orleans, The Stoogies, brought their high energy show on stage.
Confident, playful and at ease were the seven band members whose soulful and sweet sounds tempted everyone to put on their dancing feet. An audience member described them as ‘unabashedly spectacular’.
The Rock Musicarium wore a different, more executive look with sofas, lamps and cushions with delicious food and drinks to go around. The audience, mostly from the US mission in Islamabad and their guests did not only love the vocal harmony-centered arrangement at the live concert but the way The Stoogies combined its musicians’ considerable individual talents for a fresh take on jazzy tunes. Trombone player Larry Brown, John Cannon on Tuba, drummer Bernell Edwards, Lamar Heard also on Trombone, saxophone player Cameron Johnson, Errol Marchand on drums and trumpet player John Perkins operated their traditional instruments of the jazz genre with eminent skills. Tunes like the “Fire”, “Wind it up”, “Cotton Stone” and a Michael Jackson cover “Bad” blew up the crowd into an unforgettable passion. The groove of the band was simply exceptional and wildly swinging.
After 45 minutes of continuous playing, the incredibly talented Saeen Tanvir Hussain and Saeen Khalil Hussain gave themselves plenty of freedom to explore different emotions, going round and round with four drums (dhols) wrapped around their necks while keeping the music in recognisable form. Smoke machines and colourful spotlights and the quality of the tunes were as impressive as the virtuoso musicianship itself.
For the next half hour the energy of the drum playing was staggering – hard to resist and hard to stop. The Stoogies broke loose again later in the night with a couple more compositions. In Pakistan the brass band has been touring and will collaborate with local musicians.
The band members who are college students and playing full time for the band were looking forward to playing with Pakistani artists. Since 1996, the brass band has been showing high energy on the stage and in the streets too they have engaged audiences with their innovative blend of traditional sounds and contemporary hip-hop beats.
“If you have got an instrument, jump on stage and let’s get the party going,” said drummer Errol Marchand who has been with The Stoogies since high school.