SPARTACUS world premiere review

“Can anyone lend us two drum kits, a Fender Rhodes, and a Nord please?” went the social media message whistling around the Liverpool music community. One hour later, the equipment was sourced, begged and borrowed from local musicians and a cheeky bunch of Liverpool University Students. When Grammy winners jump off the plane with a suitcase and their shiny bits, the rest magically appears here! Thanks Liverpool.

Yet again Parrjazz provided an audience with the wonderful Mr Robert “Sput” Searight. This time it was at the lovely District, supported by Secret Night Gang’s Kemani Anderson and Mali Hayes. Kemani and Mali opened with a beautiful 30 minutes of soul jazz to a blissed-out audience of friends, family, musicians and music-lovers.

Then, Parrjazz’s organisational power station Geni Lamb introduces the supergroup of artists who are playing the debut night of their tour as a five-piece. Sput is a committed mentor, supporter, facilitator, and has been delivering a programme of masterclasses. This band has been put together from artists he has been in contact with through social media over the years. For the world-class drummer from Snarky Puppy, Ghost Note and numerous other top-level ensembles, it’s a gift to the world, the kit and bass playing brothers have had all afternoon to learn the tunes after all.

Spartacus Music Night - Parrjazz - Photo Credit - @florintein
Photo Credit: @florintein

The music starts when twelve year-old Aron plays an intro of sweeping five-string bass chords. He’s been playing since he was four and has the confidence and musicianship few develop when three or five times his age. The rest of the band join Aron on stage: Liselotte Östblom our Swedish virtuoso vocalist for the night, Holger Marjama keyboardist based in New York and in demand all over the globe, David Hodek on drums and older brother to Aron, and finally Mr Sput himself on drums, drum pad and keys. They slide into an explosive series of solos and polyrhythmic wonder.

The band members are perfectly complementary with a dazzling bonfire night funkworks (sic) display of improvisation, taking us on a journey so beautifully crafted in real-time. After they have finished, Sput puts out an impassioned plea for people to support music and the arts and thanks everyone in the room including the provider of the immense twenty-six-inch bass drum, the biggest he’s ever played. This was a family affair; we are all Spartacus!

Coming soon: Sput’s ex-Snarky Grammy-winning bandmates Michael League and Bill Laurance will be playing on Friday 17 November 2023 at The Tung Auditorium, 60 Oxford St, Liverpool L7 3NY. Grab tickets now.

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