Saturday, December 28, 2013
The Afif Jazz Quintet at PizzaExpress JLT
Weekend jazz nights are back, with the Afif brothers leading a new quintet that plays at the JLT PizzaExpress every Friday night. Drummer Rony Afif, bassist Elie Afif, and saxophonist Jino Kim have teamed up with guitarist Max Itani and saxophonist Joaquin Sosa, creating a brand new sound.
The band doesn't have a pianist or organist at the moment, although Itani bridged that gap quite well with his guitar work. The inclusion of a second sax player in Sosa also meant some great segments of reed harmonization -- one of the best features of the musical output of this configuration.
As far as the new venue goes, it's quite different from the old dark and cozy bar atmosphere; the band is now playing in a more dining-oriented (but still licensed) space. It's compensated for, however, with more room onstage, and the pizza being actually very good. There's also an outdoor section for those who smoke, making it much more pleasant inside for those who don't. And it's in the heart of New Dubai, which also makes it a short ride away for me.