Shakatak returning to Berlin after 25 years
The UK based Soul/Funk/Jazz combo Shakatak were at the forefront of a new music movement in the early 80s.
Bands from the UK were experimenting with Fusion sounds and incorporating Soul into their Jazz act or Jazz into their Funk acts. One group who can still stand the test of time is Light Of The World.
And another group from that period who somehow got lost in the 90s went back on stage last night at Berlin’s Quasimodo. Shakatak were extremely successful in 1982 with their album „Nightbirds“ and so, the tracks during their 90-minute set which bookmarked and surrounded the whole show were from that particular album.
Original band members Bill Sharpe on keyboards, George Anderson on bass, Roger Odell on drums and vocalist/flutist/percussionist Jill Saward captured their brilliant early 80s songs and moved them, only slightly with hushed key or percussion elements, into 2014. Sharpe, who made the impression as if he just came out of bed, had some of his signature fleeting solos on board whereas sometimes he made use of some quirky sounding keyboard. It was hard to believe that Saward hadn’t aged a bit since 1982 but she came accross as the sympathetic band leader and lead vocalist who, together with Sharpe, formed the core base of this group whose last Berlin performance goes back to 1989.
Some songs the six-piece group did came from their just released album „On The Corner“, others from later albums they released especially in Japan, where they had their biggest successes over the years. So actually they weren’t really away from the business. Some of my friends asked me with disbelief if they really still existed. The answer is yes, if only for the revival of their early 80s albums. Songs like „Streetwalkin’“, „Easier Said Than Done“, or „Bitch To The Boys“ are the soundtrack of an early 80s movement which came alive again for most of their late-night set on Tuesday.
If only Jill Saward could tell me what her secret is.