Ashu, on sax, cleverly marches to own drummer
STUART He's the sizzle and the steak. In an era when concerts are too likely to be low-protein, one young American artist is offering generous double portions.
Concert saxophonist Ashu returned to
The ultimate show-and-tell artist, Ashu charmed the Lyric Theatre audience with chatty comments, music full of bold, colorful personality, and more overwhelmingly beautiful sound than you'd expect from a woodwind.
He's carving out a very unique path for himself, beginning with the single stage name. His musical focus is surprisingly narrow: classical-only, on soprano and alto saxes only. But what he does, he does very well. Based on Friday's audience, Ashu's return (after last year's
It's odd that such a rising star hasn't cut a CD yet. But then, Ashu might be best experienced live. A human mobile, Ashu moves constantly as he plays. He is set in motion by a melody or rhythm or just getting carried away.
Ashu didn't simply play the Ibert Concertino da Camera (1935); he stepped directly into the cosmopolitan
Ashu created not just environments but also entire worlds in the French half of his program, especially the Ibert and Debussy's Rapsodie.
But compared to the violin or clarinet, there isn't a huge body of music for concert saxophone. So Ashu wrote his own arrangements of several works, including three Piazzolla tangos for soprano sax. In Bordello 1900, he captured the characteristic sound of the bandoneon just by adding special slides.