Charles Owens brings New York’s jazz to Beirut
New York tenor saxophonist Charles Owens performed a series of concerts at Blue Note Jazz Cafe in Beirut during the period between June 3 – 8, to be continued between 10 – 15 of the same month.
Supported by Steve Phillips on drums, Jack Gregg on acoustic bass and Arthur Satyan on piano, Owens got off to a wild and loud start for the evening. After the opener things quieted down a little with the jazz standard Someone In Love.
Owens also offered a number of pieces solely played on his tenor sax. One of them was a Steve Marlins standard. “One my all time greats and a song about my favorite city and the city I live in,” The Daily Star quoted the New Yorker as telling the audience.
Just how seriously Owens takes his music became clear during his interpretation of the Marlin standard. He interrupted his piece to send a photographer, who had been prowling up and down in front of the stage with a flash, to the back of the room, because he felt bothered.
“Playing jazz is an intellectual, emotional and creative occupation,” he stressed later and he added: “When I interpret a piece well, I feel purged of bad feelings and I believe my listeners do too.”
At the age of 8 he discovered the tenor saxophone. At school, his class was shown a variety of musical instruments at a school assembly, and ever since he has been attracted to the instrument’s shape and sound. But Jazz was never his only musical preference and very recently Owens has also been exploring pop tunes.
“I believe that a really good tune always sounds good, doesn’t matter if it is played slowly, or with breaks or different stresses,” he said.
Owens admitted that he has become a great fan of Radiohead and even done some interpretations of some of their songs, like Life in a Glass House from the album OK Computer. Unfortunately, he did not include any in Wednesday’s Blue Note set – Albawaba.com