- Special Pages
By Isabel Ovalle
Local band Doha Jazz has released an album called ‘Blues on the Corniche’. The CD is fully made in Qatar, between February and March last year. All proceeds from the launch and sales will go to non-profit organisation Cancer Research UK.
Doha Jazz was founded in 2000, when British musician Chris Coull moved to Doha. He is a jazz trumpeter, flugelhorn player, pianist and bandleader. Back in Britain, Coull played regularly at various festivals and concerts with his band Hydra.
“I have always played jazz, and when I came to Doha, I wanted to form a jazz band here too,” he said. More than a decade after the creation of the ensemble, the band launched a charity CD on February 9.
On its website, the band explains that when his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier last year, Coull was determined to raise awareness and funds for research to fight this disease.
“This CD represents a cross section of the diverse and charismatic musicianship that keeps Doha Jazz at the forefront of Qatar’s live music scene,” says the ensemble.
The band describes the album as straight-ahead jazz classics mixed with Arabesque tracks, rhythm and blues grooves and lush orchestral arrangements (courtesy of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra), which create a diverse and engaging outcome that keeps the listener’s interest throughout.
“The album has 11 tracks, there are some original compositions and some old jazz tunes that we have given a facelift,” said Coull.
The launch of the disc took place at W Doha hotel with a night of live jazz in a jazz club atmosphere. Blues on the Corniche is also available at Virgin Megastore for QR50.
The founder of Doha Jazz added, “we have a variety of instruments, like drums, bass, piano and guitar for the rhythm section of the band, while the vocals, trumpet and saxophones form the front line.” The musician describes jazz as “improvisation with a swing style. The beat and groove is very specific and unique, and the mode and language of jazz improvisation is also unique.”
During his time here, Coull has seen the music scene change “massively”, especially with regard to live music. “There are now several places in Doha you can watch music every week, and, of course, the likes of Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra and Jazz at Lincoln Center have added to what Doha Jazz has been bringing to this city for the last 10 years and more.”
However, just like it happens in other fields, “there’s quite a frequent turnover. I would say about half of our members have been here less than two or three years.”
The band plays at a variety of venues throughout Doha. For instance, every week there’s Friday night jazz at the Movenpick Hotel from 8.30pm to midnight. On February 15, the Keith Wilson quartet, a saxophone-led band, will play jazz classics, and on February 22, Chris Coull quartet will do the same.
For over four years, the Chris Coull jazz band has been playing at the W hotel’s Market by Jean-Georges restaurant every Friday from 12 noon to 4pm. Also on Friday, the Spice Market restaurant hosts Guy Turner to sing the best of swing and blues accompanied by the Doha Jazz band, from 12 noon to 4pm.
The band’s other members are: Nina Heidenreich, Patrizia Mae, James Beard, Glen Henderson, Michael Pigneguy, Keith Wilson and Matteo Gaspari.
‘Blues on the Corniche’ in 11 tracks
• Blues On The Corniche
• Autumn Leaves
• What’s New
• Going Home
• Duwartu Ashams Saghira
• Visions of Vienna
• Everything I Love
• The Thrill Is Gone
• Body And Soul
• Star Eyes