Mark Godfrey

Mark Godfrey’s Concert at Nanaimo Conservatory of Music, November 18, 2023

I am not someone who knows much about jazz; however, I recognize a strong performance and good music when they are presented to me, and Mark Godfrey’s concert hosted by the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival Association at the Nanaimo Conservatory of Music on November 18th had strong performance and good music in spades. Because of the more intimate setting of the performance space, there was room for the audience to actively engage with the music and gave a sense of connection, as if the audience and performer alike were participating in the creation of the performance.

It was clear that Godfrey and his fellow performers have a deep passion for the music they are creating. There was an easy flow between the artists and their connection made their  improvisations and rifts natural and cohesive throughout the performance.

Furthermore, the audience was enthusiastically engaged throughout the evening. The small space was packed and a cry for an encore immediately followed the group’s final song.

Though all of the songs were engaging and well performed, one particular tune grabbed my attention. The song is called “Sonder”, which Godfrey defined as the concept that everyone around you lives as difficult and meaningful of a life as you do. Throughout the course of the song the melody lines of the instruments all intertwined and layered over each other in a chaotic and juxtaposing manner, indicating the complexities of the many different lives lived around us, and yet, at the end of the song the two ‘saxophonists’ melodies lined up, ending the song in a perfect, haunting tandem, reminding the audience that despite different lives we are all human, all connected.

I had the privilege of speaking with Godfrey after his performance and was able to learn a bit more about his artistic process and what he is trying to convey with his art. Godfrey stated that his artistic process involved a lot of time to start an idea and then to let it be for a little while. He said that “it’s really easy to bang your head up against a wall when you’re working, but with practicing it would be silly to expect yourself to get better every single time.” Taking your time to create something bit by bit instead of forcing it all at once allows the process to flow more naturally.

Godfrey also explained that if his audience could take away one thing from his performances, he would like to tell everyone to “be open about music and art and creativity. Be willing to take a chance on something” and I could not agree more. Again, though I have never been particularly up to date on jazz as an art form, getting to experience it live through the Nanaimo International Jazz Festival has led me to embrace new music, art forms and to learn to appreciate creativity from many different lives and styles.

Brookner Tobin

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *