By John Owoo
(In Accra – Ghana)
A cool night breeze from the Atlantic Ocean enabled leaves on several trees to shift listlessly as rich rhythms from five talented musicians filled the air at the Goethe-Institut in Accra.
In a performance that forms part of the Institut’s Covid 19 programmes, the Soul Nice group led by Bright Osei exhibited great tact and poise as they unfolded intricate compositions from individual members of the group.
Featuring Anthony Ansah (tenor sax), Anthony Adubofour (drums), Nicholas Mettle (piano), Kenneth Obi (talking drums) and Bright Osei (bass guitar), the band performed with passion and enthusiasm to a virtual audience that is trying to adjust to what has been described as “new normal”.
With emphatic lines from Osei, Mettle and Ansah, sounds from the stage were heightened with drum beats from Adubofour and Obi while minimal stage lighting added to the environmental poignancy of the performance hall.
A number of tunes including “Funky Jamestown” (Bright Osei), “Praise Him / Funk In the Air” (Anthony Ansah), “Worry Not” (Dave Corbus / Bright Osei) and “You Don’t Want to Know” (Nicholas Mettle) that flowed like a stream, vividly revealed the power of improvisation and blending of cross cultural rhythms.
Interspersed with a series of harmoniously crafted solos, Osei, who is also a composer / arranger and his musicians filled the near empty auditorium with infectious drum beats, hyper funk textures and instinctive saxophone lines that sounded like a galactic artistic feast.
Band leader Osei has toured with a number of highlife greats including Jewel Ackah, Papa Yankson, Gyedu Blay-Ambolley, Paa Bobo, Daddy Lumba, Ofori Amponsah and Kojo Antwi among others. He subsequently moved into jazz and has been performing with the GH Jazz Collective, a group based in Accra.
On the international front, he has performed with Barry Finnerty, Peter White (UK), Tues Nobel (Netherlands), Nicholas Genest (France), Entienne Charles, Gordon Louis, Benjamin Boone, Dave Corbos, Rocky Dawuni (USA), Pilani Bubu, Ernie Smith (South Africa), Gert Vincent (Denmark) and others.
Goethe-Institut Ghana sponsored the concert.