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6705: Wyclef jams at Carnegie Hall (fwd)
From: nozier <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Wyclef Jean Jams at Carnegie Hall The Associated Press, Sat 20 Jan
NEW YORK (AP) — It's not surprising that Carnegie Hall gave Wyclef Jean
the distinction of being the first hip-hop artist to play the revered
concert hall. As was clear on Friday night, when Jean played host and
entertainer during an all-star benefit for his self-titled foundation,
there is perhaps no other artist in hip-hop — or most other music genres
— as multifaceted and as talented as the engaging Jean. Jean proved
that in his Carnegie debut, as he mixed Bach with hip-hop, jazz with
rap, and collaborated
with the likes of Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder and Whitney Houston for a
captivating, cross-cultural concert.
``See, I'm the new Sammy Davis Jr.,'' Jean joked during the event,
which also included performances by Destiny's Child, Charlotte Church,
Macy Gray, Marc Anthony, Steve Marley and reggae band Third World.
``I'm accepted by everyone.''
Jean, a member of the rap group the Fugees and a successful solo
artist, songwriter and producer, showed his dexterity in intermingling
various musical styles from the show's start, as he sang a jazz medley
with his ``Clef's Kids,'' musical teens who receive the benefit of
education and training through his Wyclef Jean Foundation.
Then he introduced Israeli violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who brought the crowd
to its feet when, backed up by a DJ, she played rap hits with her
electric instrument — putting a classic tilt on the Notorious B.I.G.'s
``One More Chance'' and Jean's ``It Doesn't Matter.''
The moment was one of many times when the crowd stood in applause. A
surprise appearance by Wonder during Jean's performance with Third
World, with Wonder playing his harmonica and singing ``Now That We Found
Love,'' caused an ovation, as did Jean's emotional, soulful duet with
Mary J. Blige on their current hit, ''911.''
The crowd also went wild for Clapton, who sang his ``Wonderful
Tonight,'' with a reggae tilt (he later came back to debut a new Jean
composition, ``My Song,'') and for Whitney Houston. Houston, who was
backed by her new girl group Sunday and brother Gary Houston, sang the
gospel song, ``I Go To the Rock,'' with a fervor that replicated the
church spirit. Houston's voice sounded a bit strained when she sang
with Jean on the hit he produced for her, ``Your Love is My Love,''
but with a voice like Houston's, even a slight strain is hard to detract
from her performance. Church was in her usual classic mode as she sang
``Ave Maria,'' but later came out and sang a soulful version of the
``Porgy and Bess,'' standard ``Summertime,'' with Jean providing the
It was a rarity when Jean wasn't on the stage — one of the few times
he wasn't was during Destiny Child's performance, as the girl group
sensation ran through their Grammy-nominated ``Say My Name,''and the No.
1 hit ``Independent Women Pt. 1,'' backed by canned tracks, instead of a
band. Though at times they appeared to be lip-synching, lead singer
Beyonce Knowles' forceful vocals came through loud and
clear, as she tried to engage the already-standing crowd into the
group's performance. Though the crowd was enthusiastic for Destiny's
Child, it's understandable that they were not bowled over, after the
dazzling performances they had previously witnessed. One of the night's
best moments came with Jean donned black tails and the conductor's role
to lead his ``Clef's Kids,'' through Bach's two-violin concerto
(perhaps one of the night's only disappointments, none of the performing
teens were ever formally introduced by name). Jean, of course, used his
own arrangements, adding a drum beat, saxophone and other instruments
to give it a funky edge, breathing new life into the old classic. But
Jean didn't stop there. As the night wound down with the singing of
``Guantanamera,'' featuring a surprise appearance by Anthony, drummers
filled both aisles of Carnegie — on the one side Brazilian drummers, and
on the other, drummers from Africa and Haiti, with dancers swaying to
the beat. Jean led the fierce drumming to a crescendo as he and the
audience wildly jumped up and down to the beats.
Surely Carnegie has never seen a night quite like this.