Highlife Jazz Fusion of Ghana at Ford Amphitheater

There's been jazz fusion when the likes of Grover Washington Jr., Modern Jazz Quartet, Hank Crawford, Johnny Hammond, Ornette Coleman and the rest crossed over from the 60s be-bop and big bands to what became known in the 70s as jazz-fusion with the kind of beat that would change jazz tunes forever. When Washington and colleagues joined Creed Taylor who engineered and produced every artist at Kudu Recording Studio, jazz tunes embraced funk and soul rhythms.

On Sunday, October 14, 2007, at 7 PM, Gyedu Blay Ambolley and his Ghanaian ensembles will be introducing a new wave of Ghana highlife music at the Ford Amphitheater in Hollywood. The performer line-up is a cast of Ghana's masters of highlife jazz fusion. The event will kick off with Kpakpo Addo, trumpeter and flugehornist; Eddie Quansah, trumpeter, percussionist and composer; Obo Addy & Dancers; Gyedu Blay Ambolley, funky-jazzy rap-style interpreter and KASA Africa. The event is a fundraiser for the Highlife Hall of Fame Museum.

Wilson Boateng, excited and couldn't wait for the show told me he's the fusion kind of guy and that the all-star ensemble will be carrying their baggage to the Ford Amphitheater on October 14th, making it a remarkable event in the history of Ghana's highlife music, said the Sunday jam "will be an event to remember."

For Ambolley, he will be in a windy mode, blowing his sax and entertaining the crowd in the open arena. Remarkably, Ambolley never had formal wind instrumental instruction until he started teaching himself how to play the flute owned by his father, developing into a first-call session player as a teenager under his mentor "Uncle Bonku" who lectured him on playing the guitar. His early influences were Ray Charles, Wes Montgomery and Charlie Parker.

Kpako Addo, born Victor Kpakpo Addo Jr., will be blowing his trumpet like never seen before in the remarkable event as noted by Boateng, saying the God-fearing trumpeter would unleash a whole lot of package. So, too are the line-ups--Eddie Quansah and Obo Addy.

Tickets are $30 and $12 for students and children. Ford Amphitheater is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, Hollywood California; off the 101 Freeway across from the Hollywood Bowl and South of Universal Studios.